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Full text of "Places"

PLA.CES 



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Summer, 
/$10.00 U.S. 
/ $13.00 Canadian 



Sponsors 



National Endowment for the Arts 
Design Program 

Pratt Institute 
School of Architecture 

University of California, Berkeley 
College of Environmental Design 



Patrons 



Fulton + Partners, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffi-ey Kenner 

Los Angeles County Metropolitan 
Transportation Authority 

The New York Community Trust 
Blecher Family Fund 

Sea Ranch Village, Inc. 



Supporters 

Altman-Stiller Foundation 

Eskew-Filson Architects, New Orleans 

Haines Lundberg Waehler 
Architects, Engineers & Planners, 
New York 

Hartman-Cox Architects 
Washington, D.C. 

Jones and Jones 

Architects and Landscape Architects 

Seattle 

Lyndon-Buchanan Associates 
Berkeley 

Moore, Ruble, Yudell Architects 
Santa Monica 

Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and 
Douglass, New York 

The New York Community Trust 
Ruth and Frank Stanton Fund 

Sanchez-Kamps Associates, Pasadena 

Weintraub and diDomenico 
Landscape Architects, New York 



Coverage of the conference 
"Public Service Design Abroad" 
was funded, in part, by the 
National Endowment for the 
Arts, Design Program. 



NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 
FOR^g^THE 

ARTS 

Articles on artists and the design 
of transit systems were funded, in 
part, by the Los Angeles 
MetropoUtan Transportation 
Authority; Parsons Brinckerhoff 
Quade and Douglass; and 
Sanchez Kamps Associates. 

Places, A Forum of Environmental 
Design, is published by the Design 
History Foundation, a nonprofit, 
charitable organization that sponsors 
a range of educational, publishing 
and research activities. The 
Foundation's mission is to establish 
forums in which designers, public 
officials, scholars and citizens can 
discuss issues vital to environmental 
design, with particular emphasis on 
public spaces in the service of the 
shared ideals of society. 

Places and the Design History 
Foundation depend on support 
fi-om foundations, firms and individ- 
uals to continue these activities. To 
support our mission and to learn 
the benefits of joining us as a spon- 
sor, patron, supporter or fi-iend, 
please contact our Brooklyn office: 
(718) 399-6090. 



Friends 

Victor Caliandro 

Henry Cobb 

Antonio G. Dimambro 

Daniel P. Gregory 

Gary A. Hack 

Willard Hanzlik 

George Hargraeves 

Gerald A. O'Connor 

William TurnbuU 

Rick Williams and Gari Ellis 



. . . CONTENTS . 



The highlighted 
articles and com- 
mentaries were 
developed from 
the proceedings 
of "Public 
Service Design 
Abroad," a con- 
ference orga- 
nized by the 
National 
Endowment for 
the Arts in 
December 1993. 



Design in the Public Realm 



Renewing the Mandate for Design Excellence 
in America's Public Realm 

-\ P* U C L t-- 



Doiilyii Lyndon 



Thomas Walton 



Places of Privilege 



'Darning" Urbanism in Barcelona 



Civic Design for the State 



Public Architecture for a New Age 



Competitions and Architectural Excellence 



Robot S. HaiTts 



Recreating the Image of Luth 

i O N D O N 

Designing London Transport 

P O R T F O 

Santiago Calatrava's Dynamic Urbanism 

Bridges and Bridging: 
Infrastructure and the Arts 

Project Punch List 



Art and the Underground Experience 



Creating a Sense of Purpose: 
Public Art in Boston's Southwest Corridor 



Hands On: A Public Role in Transit Art 



St. Louis MetroLink: 
Changing the Rules of Transit Design 



The New Urbanism, the Newer and the Old 



^ 
20 

■j^mmL Pasqiial Maragall 

\M Kees Rijnhoiitt 

Ku Fumihiko Maki 

■■I I Jacques Cabanieti 

42 
52 
S4 
60 
68 
74 
80 
8? 



Lucien Kroll 
Raymond Tiaiier 
Donlyn Lyndon 1 

Wellington Reiter 

Francoise Bollack, Ethelind Cohliii, hies 
Elskopy Denise Flail, Margot Jacqz 

Cynthia Abramson 



Myma Margulies Breitbart 
Pa?nela Worden 



Jessica Ciisick 



Alice Adams 



93 
94 



Andres Duany, Ron Shifftnaii, 
Siisnna Torre 



TO RALLY DISCUSSION 



CONTRIBUTORS 



Donlyn Lyndon 
editor 

James F. Fulton 
publisher 



Todd W. Bressi 
executive editor 

Randolph T. Hester, Jr. 
Allan B. Jacobs 
Alice Wingwall 
consulting editors 

Jennifer Corazzo 
assistant to the 
executive editor 

Zophonias Bjorgvinsson 
designer 

Dana Forio 
business manager 



Contributing Board 

Stanford Anderson 
Richard Bender 
Catherine Brown 
Clare Cooper Marcus 
Lois Craig 
John de Monchattx 
N. John Habraken 
Raymond Lifchez 
Roger Montgomery 
Anne Vernez Moudon 
William R. Morrish 
John R. Myer 
William L. Porter 
Ron Shiffman 



Board of Directors 
Design History Foundation 

Donald Canty 
W.Russell Ellis, Jr. 
James F. Fulton 
Lawrence Halprin 
Frances Halsband 
Donlyn Lyndon 



CARING ABOUT PLACES.. 



Design in the 
Public Realm 



The urban services that we so often take for granted 
comprise the most ubiquitous of design challenges. 
They form, in large part, the basis for the public 
realm, the place of our encounter with each other, 
with our predecessors and with the collective values 
and aspirations of society. The streets, bridges, transit 
systems, service centers and institutions that are cre- 
ated in the public interest by government action and 
regulation set the terms within which our individual 
creative action and experience take place. 

The realm of public design can be a forum for 
leadership at all levels of government, from federal 
programs to local, neighborhood organizations. In 
many great periods it has been. Much of the history 
of monumental architecture is written about build- 
ings of the public realm, and the history of the ver- 
nacular environment is suffused with the underlying 
structures of public rights-of-way and services. 

Facilities created for the public can and should 
embody qualities of concern for human experience 
and for the equitable and purposeful use of resources. 
If well designed, they can set standards for private 
enterprise, and the infrastructure created by roads, 
services and regulation can evoke the creative 
involvement of entrepreneurs and engineers in shap- 
ing the environment we share. 



PLACES 9:2 



We should come to think of all design projects as 
infrastructure — setting the stage for use and elabo- 
ration by others. It is not just the shape of what is 
built that matters, but what it can make possible in 
use and in subsequent attraction and adjustments. 

This is especially true for the design of the public 
realm, which is made palpable not only with grand 
projects but also with every step underfoot, with the 
organization of paving and planting of rights of way; 
the curbs, sidewalks, roadways, trees, tree gratings, 
drainage systems, signage and lighting. All these are 
often relegated to the realm of public works engi- 
neering and discarded from conscious design 
thought. They form, though, the substructure for our 
actions, they determine how smoothly we move on 
foot or in vehicles, how easily we exchange with our 
neighbors or gather in public assembly, how graceful- 



ly the forms of our surroundings are fit together and 
how they reflect our values. 

Architecture in the public realm spans across a 
range of scales, from the shape and material of a curb 
to soaring structures that shelter places of public 
assembly; from objects and spaces that are every- 
where in our lives to great monuments that mark 
moments of collective memory. Both the fine-grained 
and the colossal present opportunities for caring to 
get it right — to show that shrewd and persistent 
imagining, when coupled with attention to the multi- 
ple interest, can make places that enlarge the realm of 
experience open to the public. We must create and 
sustain lively public places that can carry our inter- 
ests, hopes and pleasures into an evolving future. 

— Donlyn Lyndon 




\ Cover and left) 
Zurich train station. Design 
by Santiago Calatrava Vails. 
Photos © Paolo Rosselli. 



PLACES 9:2 



Pride and Stewardship: 
Renewing the iVIandate 
for Design Excellence in 
America's Public Realm 



LJL. 



The com?nentaries accompanying this aiti- 
cle are edited fivm discussions and preseJJ- 
tations that took place during ^'Public 
Service Design Abroad, " a conference 
organized by the National Endowment for 
the Alts in December, 1993. 




"<-. 



Thomas Jefferson's "academical vil- 
lage" at the University of Virginia, 
with lawn terminated by library and 
flanked by single-story dorms. 
Courtesy Catholic University of 
America, School of Architecture. 

Background: L'Enfant's plan for 
Washington, D.C., turned the 
Baroque style to democratic ends. 
Courtesy Catholic University of 
America, School of Architecture. 



Thomas Walton 

We refer to those who led the American Revolution and helped establish 
our country as the Founding Fathers, individuals who hold a unique place 
in history because they articulated principles that, even today, are cited as 
the groundwork for our democracy and national character. Their legacy 
touches on our principles of government, economics and individual free- 
dom. Less recognized is their commitment to design excellence, most 
notably in the development of key public buildings and spaces. 

Sophisticated architecture, landscapes and household objects are often 
a sign of personal wealth, power, education and social status; they also 
comprise part of our cultural legacy. But when Thomas Jefferson wrote 
that "Design activity and political thought are indivisible,"' he seems to 
have been arguing that design could be a means of conveying the values 
and priorities of a democratic nation. Thus, Jefferson's architecture sought 
to put Americans in touch with the ideals of the Enlightenment. His state 
capitol in Richmond, Va., for example, borrowed from the elegant propor- 
tions and details of the Maison Caree, an ancient Roman temple he had 
seen in his travels through southern France. 

Jefferson was equally aware that issues beyond style had to be addressed 
in the quest for democratic design. This is why his scheme for the Uni- 
versity of Virginia is especially significant. A central library (whose profile 
was inspired by the Roman Pantheon) is surrounded on each side by a sin- 
gle story of colonnaded dorm rooms and five larger pavilions designated 
as classrooms and faculty housing. The buildings frame an open, tree- 
lined hillside that continues to be used as a magnificent outdoor room for 
strolling, recreation, study and contemplation. Jefferson's com- 



PLACES 9:2 







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(Top row) Oakland federal buildings (National Endowment for 

the Arts); Corpus Christ!, TX, bus center, tiles made by local 

residents (© Project for Public Spaces); Vietnam Veterans 

Memorial (NEA). 

(Second row) Perspective from City Beautiful-era plan for 

Chicago (Catholic University of America); Benjamin Franklin 

birthplace monument (NEA); Zurich, Switzerland, train station 

(Donlyn Lyndon). 

(Third row) National Gallery East Wing (NEA); Metro Center 

Station, Metrorail, Washington, D.C. (Hanan A. Kivett), Statue 

of Liberty National Monument poster (NEA). 

(Left) Hotakubo Housing, Kumamoto, Japan (Fumihiko Maki). 




Charleston, S.C., customs house. 
Courtesy Catholic University of 
America, School of Architecture. 




Romanesque mam cntiance 
of Washington D.C.'s Old Post 
Office. Courtesy Tocid W. Bressi. 



Main court. World's 

Columbian Exhibition, 

Chicago, 1893. Courtesy 

Catholic University of 

America, School of 

Architecture. 



position, which he called an "academical village," expressed a defiant confidence in the 
future of the fledgling country. It seems to have captured important aspects of the 
national character — a love for and desire to master open space, a scale that invites 
individual exploration, a sense that all are welcome. All this underscores the notion 
that in a democracy, quality design is a universal standard that could infuse even the 
tiniest hamlet with enduring beauty. 

Jefferson's architectural interventions established the fact that good government 
could and should be reflected in designs that incorporated pride and democratic values 
as well as cost and function as priorities. Styles might vary project to project and from 
era to era, but the principle that public servants should be stewards of architectural and 
landscape excellence for the benefit of all citizens was clear from the earliest moments 
in our history. 

Sharing this conviction, George Washington commissioned a plan for the new cap- 
ital city, Washington, D.C., in 1791. Pierre L'Enfant's Baroque program cleverly trans- 
formed an order associated with royalty and centralized government power into a sym- 
bol of democracy. Broad, diagonal boulevards linked the prominent sites selected as 
the seats of the three branches of government; they also connected a generous number 
of circles and squares designated as public open space for District of Columbia citi- 
zens. Washington also endorsed open competitions as a method for soliciting designs 
for the White House and Capitol building. 

During the nineteenth century, both the country and the federal government were 
growing. To facilitate the government's expansion, the stewardship of design was trans- 
ferred from the domain of presidential patrons to professionals in the Treasury 
Department's Office of the Supervising Architect. New customhouses, post offices and 
courthouses became symbols of economic vitality and civic pride in communities, large 
and small, in every corner of the country. Often, these were the most prominent struc- 
tures in a communit)' and, especially in the west, were intended to reflect the inevitabil- 
ity of America's manifest destiny.- These commissions received special attention from 





Norris Dam, a project of the fed- 
erally-chartered Tennessee 
Valley Authority. 
Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 



both Congress and local citizens, politicians and the press; people might have disagreed 
on details of budget, style and design, but seldom on the need to develop a distin- 
guished project. Comments by Acting Mayor John L. Sneed at the cornerstone cere- 
monies for the Frankfort, Ky, courthouse and post office in 1884 reflect this senti- 
ment. He pointed out how the building would "prove a handsome ornament to the 
city," and then noted warmly how the townspeople "fully appreciate and are duly grate- 
ful that this evidence of national prosperity has been placed within our limits."' 

Back in Washington, D.C., the litany of nationally significant undertakings was 
highlighted by construction of the State, War and Navy Building, the Pension 
Building and the Library of Congress. A chaste Neoclassicism was initially the favored 
style but, as tastes changed and design matured from a gentlemanly endeavor into a 
distinct profession, each supervising architect attempted to provide his own definition 
of excellence. A more eclectic collection of profiles and facades, from Second Empire 
to Italianate to Romanesque Revival, came to be the norm. 

State and local governments were also increasingly active in the arena of public 
design. Many impressive state capitols were built during this era, and the architecture 
of city halls (Philadelphia's exuberant Second Empire edifice comes to mind) started to 
complement federal structures in terms of quality, grandeur and civic pride. 
Communities across the country, inspired by the vision and leadership of landscape 
architects like Frederick Law Olmsted, either improved or created parks whose pas- 
toral designs reflected the long-simmering tensions between the nation's agrarian and 
urban roots. Bridges, street lighting, paving projects and millions of dollars of other 
infrastructure investments helped reshape muddy towns into modern cities. 

By the late 1800s, notions of public design had matured into an American Renais- 
sance. The emphasis on single elements was replaced by a holistic view that combined 
architecture, landscape, ceremonial streets and neighborhood amenities — much of it 
a response to what many people perceived to be the ugly and chaotic results of laissez- 
faire urban and industrial growth. The inspiring World's Columbian Exposition, a 
temporary yet startlingly elegant "white city" of Classical buildings, parks and prome- 
nades became the prototype for other fairs, civic centers and urban planning proposals 
developed in the early twentieth century. Elaborate urban designs for Chicago, Wash- 
ington, D.C., Cleveland, San Francisco and even Manila (capital of the Philippines, a 
U.S. territory after the Spanish-American War) followed. And in 1901 Beaux Arts 
design was officially blessed by the supervising architect as a matter of policy: 

The Depaitment, aftei' mature consideration of the subject, finally decided to adopt the clas- 
sic style of architecture for all buildings as far as it was practical to do so... . The expei'ience of 
centuries has de?nonstrated that nofonii of architecture is so pleasing to the great mass of 
mankind as the classic ... and it is hoped that the present policy may be followed in the future, in 
order that the public buildings of the United States may become distinctive in their character.^ 

World War I, shifts in tastes, changing economic circumstances and a new sense of 
social purpose spelled the end of the American Renaissance. During the depression in 




Former San Jose post office, now an 
art museum, with recent addition at 
right. Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 



PLACES 9:2 




Illustrative map of 
Public Works Administra- 
tion projects. 
Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 




PWA-era courthouse in Boulder, CO. 
Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 



the 1930s, public stewardship of design excellence expanded into a host of new areas. 
With hope ot reducing unemployment, improving the quality of life in communities 
and restoring pride in America, the federal government created an alphabet soup of 
innovative (and controversial) New Deal programs — the Public Works Administra- 
tion, the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the 
Federal Arts Project among them. These agencies launched countless projects, from 
airstrips, swimming pools and schools to slum clearance, housing, dams, interior 
design, graphics, painting and sculpture. 

While this dramatic scope of work was subsidized with billions of federal dollars, 
most programming and design were turned over to local leadership. This shift encour- 
aged stylistic diversity, including experiments with Modernism, and significantly 
reduced the supervising architect's influence. New Deal programs presented a unique 
opportunity for the federal government to enhance the quality' of public design — 
from urban planning, architecture and landscape, to interior and graphic design — in 
ways that went well beyond the vision of any previous period in our nation's history. 

Contemporary Challenges 

Today, the federal government is the largest consumer of design services in the 
United States. But while the demand for public projects has grown, design priorities 
and criteria have shifted. Once public agencies sought a reasonable balance among 
pride, democratic values, aesthetics, function and cost; now they shortsightedly focus 
on function and cost. Even when public agencies contract with designers based on the 
quality of their portfolios, projects must be executed within tight, often unrealistic 
budgets and at the lowest possible price. Agency heads know what happens w hen thc\ 
make exceptions to the minimum-cost rule and are scrutinized b\ the media and 
ultra-sensitive taxpayers.'' 



PLACES 9:2 



Regaining Confidence in Public Service Design 



A conference about design as a public 
service carries with it an assumption 
that the public sector has value. It also 
assumes government has a responsibili- 
ty for the welfare of its citizens and can 
improve their circumstances. 

However, in a democratic society, 
government cannot function without 
general agreement about the legitima- 
cy of its actions, especially if it is to act 
as a patron of design. In a society beset 
by increasing tribalization, such consen- 
sus is difficult to achieve. Rather than 
becoming a global village, we have 
become segregated into various cultur- 
al components, each of which seeks 
legitimization of its own point of view 
at the expense of all others. We are no 
longer required to interact with others 
simply because they are fellow citizens. 

In Europe cities are taken seriously 
as an integral part of a nation's self 
image. In America, we can find no com- 
parable optimism; the word "urban" 
has become code for social unrest and 
disorder. Similarly, "public" is a pejora- 
tive — public schools, public housing 
and public transportation are all regard- 
ed as inferior to those in private hands. 

This is coupled with a recurring cyn- 
icism about government and its ability 
to solve problems and deliver services. 
The voting majority assumes projects 
sponsored by government are inherent- 
ly wasteful and inferior to what can be 
accomplished by the private sector. Gov- 
ernment is often perceived as a police 
force, not as an agent of change. 

Added to this is the emphasis televi- 
sion places upon product, distorting the 
purpose of professional life. It is now 
assumed designers make products 
whose primary significance lies in their 
value as determined by the market- 
place. Brand name recognition, a con- 
cept first applied to consumer products, 
is now sought by design professionals. 
Sir Richard Rogers spoke scathingly 
about the architecture of the market- 



place, denouncing the mindset that 
regards a building solely as profit-mak- 
ing devices, conceived to last for 20 
years and then be replaced. That mind- 
set is completely inconsistent with the 
idea oi public places: Government is 
badly represented by structures made 
by a disposable culture. 

Against this complex and negative 
background, the conference considered 
an astonishing range of activities. 
Architecture, planning, art history, pub- 
lic art, advanced technology, trans- 
portation, environmental issues, graph- 
ic design, restoration and real estate 
development were all discussed. And in 
all of these presentations it was 
assumed that public meant good. 

In fairness it should be noted that 
government in the U.S. can mean good. 
Distinguished restoration efforts 
remind us of the splendid buildings that 
have been built by our government in 
earlier times. Unfortunately, we get 
somewhat sentimental about how suc- 
cessful our restoration of these build- 
ings has been, failing to note that if we 
took better care of our buildings, 
restoration wouldn't be necessary in 
many cases. 

A positive recent development is 
the use of public-private partnerships to 
solve problems. By building consensus, 
creating new alliances among different 
groups and tapping different sources of 
funding, these partnerships have real- 
ized projects that the public and private 
sector have lacked the financial muscle 
or leadership to achieve by themselves. 
Such approaches can expedite results 
and achieve quality more surely than 
conventional systems of management. 

Our society must identify a common 
purpose so that the patient, civilizing 
work of building confidence in the pub- 
lic realm can begin. While the grand 
dreams and visions of the fifties and six- 
ties now seem sentimental and misguid- 
ed, it is not sufficient to say a larger. 



more generous idea of society is impos- 
sible for this generation. 

Our great resources of wealth and 
talent can be used to construct a new 
definition of the public sector, one that 
enhances our common experience and 
provides the leadership now irrationally 
expected from democratic ideals. We 
must recognize that we have a common 
destiny, sharing interests the economic, 
cultural and social future of America. 
Nowhere is this more evident in the 
architecture of the public realm. 

— Hugh Hardy 




Atrium, Los Angeles Central Library 
renovation and expansion. 
Courtesy Hardy Holzman Pfieffer. 



PLACES 9:2 




Pyramid atop underground addition to the Louvre, Paris. Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 



Design in the total context is one of the 
most strategic economic tools a country 
has. Those countries that have recog- 
nized this have done very v\/ell by it. 
Look at what the Japanese and Germans 
did in the automotive industry during 
the 1970s and 1980s. They captured 
large shares of markets worldwide. 
How? They did it by design, absolutely. 
We see European and now Japanese 
railroad companies today offering solu- 
tions to the U.S. by design. We see J.C. 
Decaux tackling an area of great con- 
cern, and again it's through design. If 
there's anything that designers in this 
country should be concerned about, it is 
why we haven't maximized our design 
potential in this country. We have excel- 
lent design capacities but have not fully 
utilized them. 

— Robert Blaich 



Ellis Island Main Hall. 

The entrance canopy 
was added during the 
restoration. Courtesy 

National Endowment 
for the Arts 



In truth, Americans have always been heahhily skeptical about government power 
and spending. But today, we seem to have Httle understanding of the value and mean- 
ing of investing in the public realm. The importance that post-war development pat- 
terns, both suburban and urban, place on the private realm is the clearest evidence of 
our abandonment of public places. Increasingly, Americans are moving to places where 
the streets, infrastructure and open spaces that once bound us together are under pri- 
vate control — in some communities, even city hall is moving to the shopping mall. 
This has not only had proh)und consequences for our landscape but also weakened 
support for attentive, meaningful design in what remains of the public realm. 

Not everybody has given up. In several European countries and Japan, quality 
design in the public realm appears to be the norm. Last December, to explore why this 
is the case, the National Endowment for the Arts convened a symposium, "Public 
Service Design Abroad.'"" U.S. public officials and designers listened to the experi- 
ences and saw the results affected by their international colleagues. The three days of 
presentations and discussion pointed towards several lessons for renewing the 
American commitment to public design excellence. 





Lesson One: Recognize that Quality Makes a Difference 

The voices at the forum were quite diverse. Speakers came from France, Japan, the 
Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and other countries. They included business execu- 
tives, government officials and designers. And they shared thoughts not only on archi- 
tecture, planning and urban design but also on graphic and industrial design — 
reminding us of the wide range of disciplines that shape our public environment. 

One maxim was repeated again and again: The quality of public design can make a 
tremendous difference. Good design can enhance the presence of the public realm and 
the value people place on it. It can encourage citizens to nurture their involvement in 
society — to become active not only in public places but also in art, culture and politics. 

The speakers illuminated many cases in which design has been integral to the success 
of public places. Raymond Turner, the British Airport Authority's design director, 
described how London Transport s carefully planned and executed design program 
(which touched everything from stations to vehicles to uniforms to posters) sustained the 
transit system's identity, respect and popularity for much of the twentieth century. J osep 
Acebillo, planner and architect for Barcelona, emphasized that public investment in 
infrastructure like parks, plazas, highways and communication networks can be a catalyst 
for private investment and universal pride. Jacques Cabineau explained how the French 
policy of staging design competitions for public projects has resulted in better architec- 
ture because the program and goals for a building are more thoroughly researched 
before design begins and because a broader range of talent has access to commissions. 

Clearly the public benefits when government — at the national, regional and local 
levels — explicitly promotes design excellence. In the U.S., government has a uniquely 
wide range of opportunities to do this — there are myriad agencies at the national, 
regional and local levels that either develop projects on their own or fund projects 
sponsored by others. The case suidies from abroad indicate that it is still possible for 
government to exploit design as a way to instill pride, improve the level of public ser- 
vice and deepen the appreciation of the public environment. 



Seville's train terminal is a 
striking example of the use of 
light to express movement 
and space. Courtesy Ortiz and 
Ortiz Architects. 

The U.S. General Services 
administration has started 
staging competitions for the 
design of federal buildings. 



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Excellence in 
Public Architecture 



Stage I: Initial Selection 
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What would happen if we had a day 
without design? How many of us think 
about design as an integral part of our 
life or as a convenient part of our life? 
If we could raise the public's conscious- 
ness about design, whether as profes- 
sionals or as individuals, or whether 
government takes responsibility for 
conveying the message, that might help 
build a cohesive design culture. 
— Alan Brangman 



PLACES 9 



11 



Public Design, Public Education 



(Below) Street signs in New York 
City not only identify historic dis- 
tricts but also help build a con- 
stituency for historic preservation. 
Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 

(Right) The Environmental 
Simulation Center in New York City 
enables citizens and planners to 
explore alternate scenarios for archi- 
tectural, planning and urban design 
proposals. Courtesy Regional Plan 
Association. 




Q.: In the U.S. there are few places 
where the average person can get 
information regarding public projects. 
Can't we disseminate more information 
about specific buildings as they are 
going up and when they're completed? 

Joan Goody: Using construction 
fencing as a series of changing exhibits 
would be an excellent, informative 
way to inform passersby about the his- 
tory of a building and what was being 
done at the time. This could be written 
into the contract of every government 
project, that there will be money for 
some sort of elaboration presented on 
the construction fencing and some sort 
of exhibit when the project is over. 
Architects love to show off, and you can 
get them to do that pretty cheerfully. 

Donlyn Lyndon: One point at which 
people do become interested in archi- 
tecture is when a project is about to 
appear on their doorstep. If every pro- 
ject that the federal government spon- 
sored could have within it a require- 
ment that there be some piece of infor- 
mational, educational prepared is 
placed on public display, that would 
reach a lot of people. 

Beyond that, I think we tend to look 
at public reviews and workshops as 
troublesome processes that we have to 
get through. I would urge that we 
begin to look at those processes as 
opportunities to build a level of under- 
standing about what's going to hap- 
pen. Often when a group that is 



opposed to a proposal comes to a meet- 
ing, its members are not ready to listen 
to the other side. With patience, you'll 
find that a public body that is hearing 
arguments and can be changed in the 
way it thinks about a project. All of that 
public interaction, all of that discussion 
generated by freedom of speech, helps 
us learn more from each other. 

Roger K. Lewis: One practice that 
has been fairly successful in the suburbs 
and exurbs is the charrettes that Andres 
Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk have 
led. They are architects, but they mainly 
plan towns and subdivisions. Their 
mode of operation is to organize multi- 
day workshops and, very intentionally, 
to invite the participation of anybody 
and everybody who might have an 
interest or concern with the fate of a 
particular piece of land. This not only 
produces a plan but also is a process of 
enlightenment and education. When 
the plan is put up on the wall every- 
body can look at it and feel a little bit 
of ownership. 

Sir Richard Rogers: Government 
should set an example not only by com- 
missioning public buildings but also by 
increasing an awareness of architectural 
culture among all age groups. All cities 
and regions should have a forum where 
members of the public can make their 
opinions clear to architects and to the 
government. This should be addressed 
in education and school curricula — not 
that there should be a subject called 
architecture, but curricula should 
informed by interrelated subjects like 
geography, history, technology and art. 



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Lesson Two: Establish Leadership and Build a Design Constituency 

Two complements to developing a rationale for design quality are establishing leader- 
ship and a building constituency for outstanding public design. This can involve not 
only government officials but also designers and individual citizens who have a variety 
of options for influencing design. 

Innovative leadership can emerge from many quarters. Sometimes it clearly rests in 
the hands of an individual. The Kumamoto, Japan, "Art Polls" program, in which 
leading architects from around the world are being commissioned to design some 50 
public facilities, was launched by the prefecture's former governor, Morihio Hosokawa. 
In The Netherlands, the design of many government projects is overseen by an 
appointed state architect; Barcelona's remarkable transformation in the last decade was 
orchestrated by Acebillo and city architect Oriel Bohigas. 

In Europe, government agencies and public service corporations often take the lead 
in sponsoring extraordinary design. The Dutch Postal, Telegraph and Telephone 
(PTT) system uses design to communicate its cutting edge position in the communica- 
tions market. Its facilities are as inviting as they are efficient. Its presence in the com- 
munity in the form of postboxes, public telephones and vehicles has been developed to 
improve the streetscape and reduce clutter. Its general commitment to quality in 
everything from forms to uniforms, from high-tech equipment to artwork, speaks 
about a successful, people-oriented, can-do attitude that helped PTT make the transi- 
tion from a government agency to a profit-making private organization. 

Even with aggressive leadership, quality pubhc design flourishes best when there is 
a public that demands and appreciates it. The French competition system has stimulat- 
ed a lively debate concerning public architecture. Moreover, it has become the norm 
to have cities and towns graced with the most innovative and extraordinary public 
structures. British architect Sir Richard Rogers, a designer of the Centre Georges 
Pompidou, commented that "culture is the fourth strongest vote getter in France, 
where design is simply part of the political discussion."'' (One could imagine Rogers 
wished there was a similar kind of enthusiasm in England.) 




In France, there really is a cultural vote. 
President Francois Mitterand, in a pri- 
vate conversation, once said to me, 
"You have to remember, Mr Rogers, 
that culture is the fourth biggest vote 
getter. " I've been trying to figure out 
what the other three are ever since! 
Until we make architecture a vote get- 
ter or a critical part of the political dis- 
cussion, then it will be very difficult to 
put architecture where it should be. 
When I say architecture, I mean the 
built environment, but it can also be 
the green environment. 
— Sir Richard Rogers 



(Above) Logo for The Nethe- 
rlands Postal and Telecommuni- 
cations Services; PTT postbox. 

(Left) Paris' Pompidou Center 

was a presidentlally-sponsored 

project whose design was chosen 

through a competition. Photo by 

Martin Charles, courtesy Richard 

Rogers Partnership. 




The Keeper of the Street 





Street furniture is now considered to 


such as buying tickets to see the Giants 


more than 24 hours, the rate of vandal- 


enhance the streetscape, and advertis- 


or paying parking fines. 


ism goes down. 


ing is no longer perceived as a visual 


One of our major goals is to help 


Every piece of street furniture is 


pollution, but more as a factor that can 


reduce street clutter — for example. 


checked every day, and we clean each 


enliven the streetscape. Our company's 


news racks, those little boxes that are 


piece at least once a week. In 


philosophy is based on two main ele- 


placed at intersections. In San Francisco 1 


Amsterdam, we have graffiti busters. 


ments. The first is to invest in good 


counted 23 boxes lined up at one inter- 


people on motorbikes who can remove 


design by working with the top archi- 


section. The First Amendment is a good 


graffiti more or less immediately. We 


tects and designers in the world. The 


one, but it makes it impossible for cities 


also developed a "pooper scooter," 


second is to invest in maintenance. 


to get rid of these boxes. The solution is 


which can collect dog pollution on any 


which is the key element to the success 


to have them integrated in the vertical 


sidewalk, grass, in public parks. In Paris 


of any street furniture program. 


kiosk like a soda vending machine. 


we collect 3.5 tons of dog pollution 


We hope San Francisco will be the 


Most people in the cities where we 


every day with 120 bikes. 


first U.S. city to have our street furni- 


work today have the impression that 


Street furniture wouldn't work if 


ture, including automatic public toilets 


there is no vandalism because they 


there weren't a maintenance service to 


that will be accessible to everyone, even 


never see a bus shelter or kiosk that is 


take care of it. If a nice piece of design 


those with disabilities. We would like to 


broken. There is a lot of vandalism, but 


is being vandalized, then it's even 


have newsstands and integrate in those 


we repair it so often that people don't 


worse than having bad design. 


public service kiosks some interactive 


notice. Our experience is that when you 


— Jean-Franqois Decaux 


video systems where people on the 


clean the equipment often, and don't 




street will be able to make transactions. 


let the glass panels remain broken for 






Can this type of leadership emerge in th 


1 

; U.S. government? In small ways it is 




beginning to appear. The architecture division of the federal government's General 




HKi^HIS 


Services Administration, for instance, has devised a new process for selecting profes- 




sionals that rewards design ability rather than technical criteria, and other agencies are 




S^^^P^^aB 


using charrettes and competitions to search for the best possible design ideas. The 






National Park Service has been noted not only for its architectural and landscape 




^^^^^^^S^^^sg ?^^^^^^ 


design but also for engineering and graphic 


design. And Amtrak (a government-spon- 




1 W^ f^^_ _ "^^1 1 ""•""' ' 


sored corporation) is completing a sensitive restoration of historic train stations on its 




il^HIP^^^ai^M 


Northeast Corridor line. 





Le f reiiioy media school, Tourcoing, 
France. Attic space used for work- 
shops and Informal screenings and 
presentations. Courtesy Bernard 
Tschumi Associates. 

Pare de la Villette's design involves 
systems of movements and activity 
nodes that interact on several scales. 
Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 






At a grassroots level, countless groups across the country are espousing the virtues 
of historic preservation, river and creek restoration, neighborhood improvement, park 
development and other causes that highlight the importance of design. Such efforts 
have helped assure the passage of legislation and programs concerning environmental 
protection, historic preservation and community revitalization — and in turn these 
efforts have been boosted by federal support. 

Perhaps these separate enterprises can be woven into a broader constituency, a 
crescendo of voices that includes community leaders, consumers, business executives, 
builders, manufacturers, bureaucrats and design professionals. Together, these groups 
can insist on an agenda addressing design excellence that spans large-scale federal ini- 
tiatives to the tiniest neighborhood pocket park. 




Lesson Three: Initiate Activity at Many Scales 

What is remarkable about public service design is the wide range of scales at which it 
can occur: national monuments, city landmarks, neighborhood improvements, infras- 
tructure networks and more. Each establishes a public presence in its own way, and 
each poses its own challenge for design creativity. Public agencies should be aware of 
and attentive to this full range of opportunities and responsibilities. 

There is certainly a place for what the French call gi'arids projets — the Louvre addi- 
tion and other endeavors that gain international attention. They can transform the 
dynamics of a city, as Bernard Tschumi's Pare de la Villette has in a formerly industrial 
section of Paris. And they can provide a sense of pride and identity, as did Kumamoto's 
Art Polls project and the improvements made for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. 

On the other hand, giving equal attention to less glamorous things — local muse- 
ums and exhibits, neighborhood schools, bus stations, the graphic identity of a small 
town, pocket parks, street furniture — is equally important. Barcelona spent the 
decade before the Olympics reinforcing its historic fabric by creating scores of catalyt- 
ic public spaces. In Paris, competitions are staged for housing projects and innovative 
"industrial hotels" on infill sites. Santiago Calatrava, famous for the way he melds 
architecture, art and engineering in bridge design, has lavished his talent on bus shel- 
ters, canopies, warehouses, balconies and other small-scale projects. 

At a grander scale, public design can create a cohesive image across the diverse 
regions of a country. During the nineteenth century, courthouses and customhouses 



Every project that government at any 
level undertakes should see itself as link- 
ing to a larger pattern, improving that 
pattern and helping inject life into it. 
This strategy can be embedded in pro- 
jects of the smallest scale and still have 
consequence. We see this obviously in 
the Barcelona examples; it also seems to 
be true of Pare de la Villette, where 
small actions configured within a larger 
picture inject energy into that place. 
— Donlyn Lyndon 




(Above left) Standard transporta- 
tion symbols developed by the 
U.S. Department of Transportation 
and the American Institute of 
Graphic Arts in the 1970s. 

(Above) Restoration of historic 
streetlight near Gaudi's Cathe- 
dral Sagrada Familia, Barcelona. 
Courtesy the city of Barcelona. 

(Left) Santiago Calatrava's com- 
munications tower for the 1992 
Olympics, Barcelona. Courtesy the 
city of Barcelona. 



Putting Preservation in Perspective 



0.; What strikes me is the way European 
architects relate to their historic archi- >• 
tecture. It seems they see architecture as 
an evolving process, part of life begin- 
ning in the past and continuing today. 
Therefore, they use old buildings as a 
foundation upon which to build some- 
thing new, rather than something to 
protect to the point where any and all 
retrofitting is discouraged. 

Washington D.C. is a good example 
of the latter situation — if we're going 
to move ahead in doing excellent 
design work here, we need to look at 
the extent to which we are hampered 
by a paradigm of historic preservation, 
which does not allow progression. 

Roger K. Lewis: I've concluded that 
here in Washington, at least, we're in a 
period during which people are very 
concerned about our architectural lega- 
cy, young though it is. They are con- 



cerned not only because that legacy 

>^\' might be threatened today or next 
life 

week, but also because of what might 

happen fifty or a hundred years from 
now. I think the preservation move- 
ment has its zealots, who are not 
always confronted. But at the same 
time there have been extraordinary 
abuses, and certainly in this city there 
were egregious abuses. There was a 
period when people were seriously talk- 
ing about taking down the old 
Executive Office Building and getting 
rid of the Old Post Office. 

Joan Goody: Do you think some of 
the preservation movement is a sign of 
a disappointment in the contemporary 
architecture that we produced in the 
1950s and 1960s? It's interesting that 
France produced as much terrible archi- 
tecture as we did in that period, by 
some admission it is even worse. While 



we retreated, their solution was to turn 
to competitions to try to get better con- 
temporary designs. Certainly what we 
saw is far more daring than most of our 
public or private sector design. 

Steven M. Davis: The reaction has 
been like a pendulum that has over- 
swung. We don't have the legacy that 
Europe has; we don't have a thousand 
years of fabulous building and construc- 
tion tradition to build on. More and 
more projects are going to position 
restoration in a more balanced perspec- 
tive, having to do with the need to ren- 
ovate those 1950s and 1960s buildings 
that are no longer doing their job. I 
spend most of my life right now trying 
to figure out what to do with the 
World Trade Center and its plaza, which 
are only 23 years old. 






Le Fresnoy, an art and media school in Tourcoing, France, 
designed by Bernard Tschumi. Structurally weak historic 
warehouses are supported from the canopy above, and 
the space between the canopy and the original rooves is 
used for workplaces and informal screening areas. A com- 
puter rendering of that S| 

Courtesy Bernard Tschumi Associates. 



established a federal presence throughout the United States. Today, transportation 
projects can accomplish this. The Swiss, for instance, devote a great deal of energy to 
road and signage design, studying problems from aesthetic, safety and environmental 
perspectives as they strive to create approaches that are locally sensitive while main- 
taining a national image of impeccable engineering. Postal agencies, the most ubiqui- 
tous public service, can pull the country together through the design of graphics, cus- 
tomer service and processing facilities, vehicles and, of course, mailboxes and stamps. 

Lesson Four: Today's Challenges are Similar to and Different from Yesterday's 

A theme that helped unify the symposium presentations was tradition. Some speakers 
noted that their countries' current commitment to quality design grows out of a deep 
cultural tradition. Kees Rijnboutt, The Netherlands' chief architect, and R. D. E. 
Oxenaar, his colleague from the Postal, Telegraph and Telephone system, tied recent 
developments in Dutch design to the Renaissance and the early twentieth century de 
Stijl movement. In France, the similarity between the grands projets and the pride that 
built the chateaux is evident. Barcelona's urban awakening and its celebration of the 
1992 Olympic games is the latest release of generations of Catalan creativity and energy. 

But if looking to the past provides useful precedents and a foundation for future 
work, another message was that tradition should also provide the confidence to explore 
new directions. The success of projects like the dramatic bridges and kinetic buildings by 
Santiago Calatrava and the visionary Pare de la Villette vaHdate the importance of taking 
risks and encouraging innovation in the realm of public design. 

It will be important to mesh future design directions with the new challenges pub- 
lic projects face. We now demand much greater sensitivity to environmental and his- 
toric resources; should we also seek design that is reflective of (or created by) a wider 
segment of our diverse population? We are concerned about using design to advance 
improvements in economic and social conditions; how can this be meshed with aes- 
thetic considerations? We also require much more citizen involvement in reviewing 
designs (a factor that figured in the abandonment of Tschumi's la Villette-like plans for 
a park in Queens, New York); to what extent should public service design also involve 
public education about design and about the broader physical environment? 





Proposal for rebuilding Flushing 
Meadows-Corona Park, commissioned 
by New York City's parks depart- 
ment, was subject to exhaustive 
public review and ultimately did not 
win political support. 
Courtesy Bernard Tschumi Associates. 

Pare de la Villette is 125 acres and cost 
nearly $200 million. To hold together 
this energy, there must be somebody — 
a civil servant politician or bureaucrat 
— with the authority to carry such a 
project to the end. In France, such peo- 
ple have the authority to determine a 
course of action without necessarily hav- 
ing to ask the opinion of 25 committees 
and local resident groups. This is a very 
tricky balance between democracy and 
authority; in America it would often be 
considered authoritarian. 

I was involved with a large park in 
New York City, Flushing Meadows Cor- 
ona Park. By the time we had developed 
a proposal, we had to appear in front of 
more than twenty committees. Each was 
not coordinated with the others, none 
had any political force or mandate to try 
to bring these groups together It is, of 
course, very difficult to arrive at good 
design with this lack of focus. 

— Bernard Tschumi 



Proposal to convert Manhattan's for- 
mer General Post Office into a new 
Amtrak terminal has Interested peo- 
ple who still recall the grandeur of 
McKIm, Mead and White's Pennsyl- 
vania Station, demolished in the '60s. 
Courtesy Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum. 



Each year I teach an architecture studio 
that is made up of some of the most 
talented young people from around the 
world. Many of the foreign students, 
who are the top of their respective 
classes from wherever they might have 
come, plan to go back and work in gov- 
ernment offices — for the city, the tran- 
sit department, the PIT, or some other 
agency. They see excitement, innova- 
tion and possibility in the public sector 
there. Unfortunately, not many 
American students come to Harvard 
with the idea that when they graduate 
they are going to go get a job at their 
local redevelopment authority. 
— David Lee 



Similarly, there are new actors in design. One of the most promising directions is 
the creation of public-private partnerships, which have operated on many scales. They 
offer the promise of working more flexibly than traditional government agencies; in 
their financing and decision-making they often can take greater risks. But they also 
can blur the line between public and private, confusing citizens about their stake in the 
public realm. Privatization of government building construction or of the maintenance 
of our streets might produce effective, assured results, but it risks further undermining 
our confidence in the capacity of the public sector. 

America's challenge is restoring its healthy skepticism of government while shed- 
ding its cynicism about the public realm. We must recall our government's past sup- 
port of excellence in design, build a constituency for continuing this legacy and seek 
out leaders that support it. As this framework develops, we will be able to inaugurate a 
diversity of initiatives confronting the challenges of our cities and our suburbs, of new 
information and communications technologies, and of complex environmental prob- 
lems. Some of these efforts will be funded and developed at the federal level. Others 
will receive federal support but be worked out under regional and local jurisdictions. 
Still others will emerge entirely from local mandates for excellence. 

These contributions may be different from those promoted by the Founding 
Fathers, the Office of the Supervising Architect, the talents that emerged during the 
Beaux Arts Renaissance and the depression-era federal efforts involved with design. 
Nevertheless, they can suggest the pluralism of American democracy, foster a sense of 
pride and stewardship in the public realm and in public service, encourage human 
interaction, and reflect a balance aesthetically between tradition and innovation. If we 
look carefully enough, they will offer us the first glimpse of a new design tradition. 



Notes 

1. Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in Benjamin Forgey, "The Jeffersonian Approach," The Washingtoti 
Post, 19 December 1993, p. G2. 

2. It is telling, for instance, that the customhouse and post office in Portland, Oregon, was begun in 
1869 before that city of 9,000 people even had a railroad or paved streets. See Lois Craig, et al., The 
Federal Presence: Architecture, Politics and Symbols in United States Government Building (Cambridge, 
MA: MIT Press, 1978), 122. 

B.John L. Sneed, Kentucky Yeoman, 5 February 1884, as quoted in Craig, 167. 

4. Report of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, 1901, as quoted in Craig, 236. 

5. For example, the Federal Triangle project (previously known as the International Cultural and 
Trade Center) in Washington, D.C., has been roundly criticized as the costs have almost doubled 
from $362 million to $656 million. See Kirstin Downey Grimsley, "Federal Triangle's Points of 
Contention; Delays, Rising Costs, C^hanging Concepts Beset Project," The Washington Post {S 
December 1993), p. Al. 

6. "Public Service Design Abroad" ran from 8-10 December 1993 in Washington, D.C. It was spon- 
sored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Design Program, with support from the General 
Services Administration, Public Buildings Service, the Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service, and the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. 

7. Sir Richard Rogers, remarks at the Public Ser\'ice Design Abroad conference, 10 December 1993. 



PLACES 9:2 



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BigBend 1 




























1 




1 




1- 




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il 


ll 



1. "Unigrid" used for National Park Service 
graphics and publications. 

2. Linn Cove Viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway. 

3. Day care center in Social Security 
Administration building, Baltimore. 

4. 5. Proposed Southpoint Pavilion, Roose- 
velt Island, New York City. Design by Santi- 
ago Calatrava Vails • Mitchell\Giurgola. 
(Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation) 

6. Stone griffin sculpture, part of a seven- 
mile project along 1-476 in Radnor, PA. Photo 
by William Reimann. (Townscape Institute) 

7. Pershing Park, Washington, D.C. Photo by 
Carol Wl. Highsmith. (Pennsylvania Avenue 
Development Corporation) 




Photos courtesy National Endowment for 
the Arts unless indicated otherwise. 










S ANGELES 



PLACES OF PRIVILEGE 




Above: Coastal areas, with their 
fresh air and inspiring views, are 
places of privilege. 

Below: Plaza de las Fuentes, 
Pasadena civic center. 
Courtesy Robert S. Harris. 




This article is adapted fro?/? a p?-esenta- 
tion made to the Mayors Listitiite on 
City Design West in October, 1993. 




Robert S. Hmris 



*^ 




All the people of the city should inhabit places of privilege, that is, places 
that help them know and feel where they are and why it is good to be 
there. This is a matter of fundamental significance, as it strikes at the cen- 
ter of any person's sense of well-being. A place of privilege should be iden- 
tifiable, be locally distinctive and provide ample support for everyday life. 

Characteristically the people who first inhabit a place, and those who 
follow them who have wealth or power, setde in the places of natural dis- 
tinction and advantage — places where the air is fresh or where there is 
inspiring prospect. Those of us who come later, or for whom the choices 
are more narrow, settle in places that have less natural advantage. 

It is in the places of less advantage that urban design must create dis- 
tinction. These are the places lost in the midst of extensive urban flat- 
lands. They are the leftover districts that grew without special care and 
still have no loving sponsor. They have little natural advantage, and with- 
out design they have no identity, no particular character. WTiere we are 
successful as urban designers we must create a sense of privilege where lit- 
tle was present before. 

One of our great successes has been the residential street whose trees 
have grown to make a canopied outdoor room that supports community 
aspirations, lasts in our memories and fulfills our need to be in a distinct 
place. Another successfid strategy has been to build public institutions 
whose location and design lend distinction to districts that otherwise 
would be nondescript; these places build on our tradition of magnificent 
city halls and public libraries. 



20 



PLACES 9:2 



v>'**^,r':?^4- 






Above: Plaza Sant Pere. Photo by R. Escude, 
courtesy City of Barcelona. 

Left: Plaza in El Pueblo, the oldest section of 
Los Angeles. Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 

Below: Everyday places, such as tree-lined resi 
dential streets, can be places of privilege. 
Courtesy Robert S. Harris. 




Recently we have had few successes as both local govern- 
ments and private investors have either ignored what is 
required to build a suitable public realm or relied too heavily 
on stylized buildings, decorative plantings and contrived mon- 
uments that are more referenced to other places than they are 
to the history, culture and landscape in which they stand. Our 
extensive private realms fail to support community life, and 
they provide only the identity of exclusivity and a rather fearful 
sense of privilege. 

Ultimately, our opportunity to create places of privilege 
everywhere and for everyone depends upon designing projects 
at every scale, both public and private, that are designed to 
augment the inherent identity and distinction of their districts 
and neighborhoods. Such a realization inspired projects 
throughout Barcelona during the past decade, an example that 



is worthy of our attention. These projects and the principles 
on which they are based have directly influenced planning in 
many other places in Europe and in the U.S., and have been 
particularly interesting as similar planning has proceeded in 
Los Angeles. 

Every Project Counts 

Biddy Mason Park in downtown Los Angeles was created a few 
years ago to link a new parking garage to both the Broadway 
and Spring Street historic districts. It has given identity and 
privilege where there was disrepair, and it has tempted all who 
use it to notice the historic districts, learn about an important 
aspect of cultural history and sense the possibilities for further 
development in the area. The best Spanish-language bookstore 
is now adjacent, one of the state's largest banks has been 
tempted to return to an underserved district and a new deli has 
recently opened, furnishing food and drink to be taken outside 
and enjoyed in this lively paseo. 

The success of this small place provides an important 
model. All cities have so many places of no particular distinc- 
tion that the task of repair and enhancement can often seem 
overwhelming. Many apparently discouraged citizens, rather 
than staying where they are and improving their neighbor- 
hoods and districts, continue to leave existing environs for 
newly developed communities. If this exodus is to be stemmed, 
new civic leadership must inspire a persistent effort towards 
creating privilege ever\'where. 




ParKing 



Biddy Mason Park in down- 
town Los Angeles. Small 
stores have opened along the 
park, which winds through 
the center of a block. 
Courtesy Robert S. Harris. 



Shop f ^.^ \ __^ ^ 

\ '^ T ^'' ' f y>-. ^ "Biddie Masin Par* Q cA) 



n 



-■ 1 




Z^ 





POURTH STREET 


I 

i 



jDiDj 



BROADWAY 



Buena Vista Chlorine Treatment Plant, 
near Elysian Park, Los Angeles, brings 

identity to the surrounding area. 

Courtesy Brenda Levin, architect. 





This leadership must understand that every pubHc project, 
especially those as small as Biddy Mason Park, and every pri- 
vately sponsored project that requires any public approval or 
support, must not only serve its own internal purposes but also 
help repair and enhance its immediate environs. Project by 
project by project, year after year after year, this systematic 
attention will create identity and pride. As neighborhoods and 
districts become places where one would want to be, they will 
enjoy new prosperity. 

The power of such incremental steps towards the reintegra- 
tion and wholeness of places is a major theme in the work of 
Christopher Alexander' and has been made a central theme in 
current planning for Downtown Los Angeles. Initiating such a 
process of development, open to the future yet strategically 
directed, is a central task and major strategy for the repair and 
enhancement of existing urban places. 

The Annual Work Program 

Within every city's annual work program — such as repairing 
streets, putting up street lighting, building new police stations, 
libraries, parks or schools — is a powerful set of opportunities 
for bringing new life, identity and quality to many districts. As 



projects of every size and every degree of significance are seen 
as opportunities for creating special quality, they can become 
catalysts for stimulating the economic and social well-being of 
their neighborhoods. Of course, for projects to have such sig- 
nificant effect, to create privilege, requires purposeful and 
memorable design. 

Although cities do take action year-by-year through annual 
work programs, most projects are highly specific, formed 
around one primary purpose emanating from single-mission- 
oriented departments, such as public works or transportation. 
We have come to realize that even when the projects are spon- 
sored by parks departments, housing authorities or school dis- 
tricts, the work tends to be narrowly defined and goes forward 
without clear purpose regarding urban form and urban life. 

On the other hand, comprehensive city plans can require 
such unusual resources and cooperation that their implementa- 
tion is uncertain. Without a powerful sense of common pur- 
pose, energy is dissipated through projects that often seem as 
disruptive as beneficial and planning that promises but doesn't 
deliver. If projects sponsored by either public agencies or pri- 
vate parties are not to be merely scattered and only self-serv- 
ing, some civic guidance must be provided. 



PLACES 9:2 



23 



A R C E L N A 



Stfcciv^^- • - x.^. 




Above: Barcelona. Courtesy City of Barcelona. 

Opposite page, top: Cerda plan for extending 
Barcelona, 1859. 

Opposite page, center and bottom: Sert plan for 
restructuring and extending Barcelona, 1930s. 



"DARNING" URBANISM 
IN BARCELONA 



Pasqual Maragall 



We are confronting a decisive moment for cities throughout the 
world, particularly in America, where inner cities are suffering 
severe problems. The difficulties in solving these problems have 
much to do with cities' fiscal crises, caused by the nonexistence 
of strong, effective metropolitan bodies that counterbalance 
the migration of the middle classes from inner cities to suburbs 
(where they pay less taxes but continue using the central city) 
and by diminishing federal aid during 12 years of conservative 
administration. 

I often say that cities are the containers in which humanity 
places its problems — loneliness, marginality, need. Cities them- 
selves don't create problems; cities can be, must be, places to 
cope with (I dare not say solve) them. But cities need the means 
to do this. We need people and their governments to trust cities 
and invest in urban projects. 



Learning from Barcelona 

Following the difficult years in which Spain was ruled by 
Cieneralissimo Francisco Franco, Barcelona emerged with a 
sense of urgency and with enough prosperity and resolve to 
begin a new political and economic future. Its mayor and its 
leading architect-planner, Oriol Bohigas, supervised a strategic 
restructuring based on a few critical policy choices. - 

The first choice was to pursue projects, not plans. They 
concluded that a city is less a coherent system than it is a 
patchwork aggregation of differing fragments. That is, cities 
are better understood by piecemeal inspection and analysis of 
their separate districts. Only then can the city be welded into a 
whole by the continuity of streets and paths and by the skillful 
forming of public spaces and architecture. Instead of generat- 
ing a new master plan, they opted to initiate a series of projects 
arising from a detailed study of each area. This enabled the 
city to undertake the repair and reconnection of local places 
and neighborhoods with strategically located projects that 
recreated value and pride in its various neighborhoods. 



A second critical choice was to focus on reconstruction and 
consolidation of existing areas rather than to support further 
urban expansion. 1 hey understood that Barcelona was not 
only too distended, but also that there was more than enough 
underutilized land and buildings within the existing city to 
accommodate the housing and general urban development that 
would be needed for the foreseeable future. 

Reconstruction has its own wrenching dimensions, of 
course. Some areas need to change function as new regional 
and global economies threaten the viabilit}' of traditional prac- 
tices, and as new standards for public health are implemented. 
And contemporary culture will exercise its influence in historic 
sections as new technologies and means ot transportation, 
especially automobiles, find favor. 

A third critical choice was emphasizing the making of 
meaningful social settings rather tiian focussing on social pro- 
jects. Inserting a community center here and there in suburban 
districts will not create urbanity and a stronger sense of com- 
munity; these districts must be linked back into the c\t\ itself 
to take advantage of the full ranyc of institutions thai ha\e 



24 



PLACES 9:2 



The Case of Barcelona 

It has been said that Barcelona is a combination of Florence and 
Manchester. It is an extremely densely populated city, resulting 
from the blending of the medieval center with industrial 
growth that began in the nineteenth century. Barcelona is 
steadily becoming a service city in a process that has changed 
the very definition and limits of the city. 

Barcelona has a long tradition of urbanism that makes it an 
important reference point in urban design and town planning. Its 
modern urban development is based on the extension plan creat- 
ed in 1859 by lldefons Cerda, an engineer and Utopian socialist. 
From then to 1930, little more than half a century, the city's pop- 
ulation grew tenfold, from little more than 100,000 to a million. 

The debate that Cerda had started on the duality between 
city center and suburbs was reopened in the 1 930s by the Macia 
Plan, directed by Josep LIuis Sert under Le Corbusier's supervi- 
sion. Tragically, this plan did not materialize because of the 
Spanish Civil War and Generaiissimo Francisco Franco's victory. 

In the 1950s, after the Spanish Civil War a new phase of eco- 
nomic growth began. The rapid growth of population precipitat- 
ed a housing shortage. The city continued expanding; its bound- 
aries encompassed 500 square km. (of which 100 are wooded) 
and the population soared over the three million mark. 

During those years the lack of democratic control, with non- 
representative local authorities operating within a dictatorship, 
encouraged urban speculation and resulted in a disorganized 
urbanism and an architecture suffering from even greater sad- 
ness. Furthermore, Barcelona lacked public investment — there 
was little drive, ambition or capacity for the city to make deci- 
sions about itself. 

With the arrival of a democratically elected city council in 
1979, the situation was reversed. The economic crisis of the '70s 
and the levelling off of population growth helped by taking 
pressure off the housing shortage. 

When we took over the responsibility of municipal adminis- 
tration, we had the political will to renew, refurbish Barcelona 
and eliminate the housing shortage. Barcelona had a general 
metropolitan master plan, which, despite the fact that it had 
been approved by previous non-representative institutions, was 
regarded as valid. Clearly there was a great temptation to 
undertake a complete revision of the plan, which would serve as 
a master plan for the reconstruction of the city. This would have 
been a slow and complex procedure, largely unnecessary, while 
the city demanded immediate solutions. 

We believed the regeneration of the city would be possible 
only through the implementation of a clear, disciplined urban 
policy and through the continuity of firm planning manage- 
ment.'' Both would be aimed at satisfying the great demand for 



Mayor Maragall's observations are very 
important to the American experience, 
l-le tailfs about major problems that are 
common to all cities: congestion, securi- 
ty, housing, blight, environment and 
ecology, to which I would add eco- 
nomics and employment There is no 
question Americans identify those 
things as issues — not aesthetics or 
design. Maragall pointed out, appropri- 
ately, that design can be part of 
addressing some of those issues. That's 
an important lesson for us, certainly for 
people in the position to influence pub- 
lic design projects. 
— Roger K. Lewis 




i 

& 



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PLACES 9:2 



25 





Interventions in cen- 
tral Barcelona, clock- 
wise from top right: 
Passeig del Born, El 
Fossar de les Moreres, 
Plaza Santa Maria del 
Mar. Courtesy Robert 
S. Harris. 





been created during the city's long and rich history. In 
Barcelona, augmenting a network of urban places and monu- 
ments assisted such a reconnection to history and culture, and 
to the institutions and resources of the center city. 

However, the center city's urbanity itself is too often a 
superficial impression of a setting and social life that is quite 
decayed. Thus it was necessary in Barcelona to initiate both 
reconnection and revitalization projects. For example, small 
interventions in the historic core, such as at El Fossar de les 
Moreres and the Passeig del Born near the church of Santa 
Maria del Mar, were meant to reconstruct nieaningfid social 
settings. Each oi these opened a small commons, created a 
small neighborhood focus and generated greater identity while 
enhancing the connections to adjacent areas. 

The fourth choice was between beginning reconstruction of 
the city with public spaces or with public housing. Countering 
the twentieth century's tradition of focusing urban social efforts 
on the building of housing, Barcelona's planners opted instead to 
create new public spaces and services. They reasoned that such a 
strategy immediately increases the wholeness and improves the 



quality of life in existing areas, and, when skillfully planned, can 
be the catalyst for restoring and rebuilding districts. 

A final question was whether to proceed with projects using 
outside consultants entirely or with a specially recruited city 
staff. Perhaps the obvious outcome was both. An office of 
urban design was created to oversee both the planning and 
public works departments and the outside professionals who 
designed projects. 

Overall, the principles in Barcelona focus on the immediacy 
and integrative power of local projects coupled with an overar- 
ching vision of a city whose districts and neighborhoods have 
their own identities and are strongly interconnected. Perhaps 
the lesson is clearest when it is understood that local go\ern- 
ments must be expected to focus on the public realm, on creat- 
ing a cohesive physical fabric for our lives. In Barcelona the 
leadership was present to take such urban reformation forward, 
and to inspire the response of the pri\ate sector to continue 
the work to create not just urban concentrations, but urbanity- 
— to foster places of privilege everjwhere. 



26 



PLACES 9:2 



new open spaces and public facilities that were desperately 
needed in such a highly populated city. 

The open wounds left by years of speculation, negligence 
and the city's lack of confidence in its capabilities needed 
urgent attention. For this reason we put into practice what the 
first democratic mayor, my predecessor, Narcis Serra, described 
as a "darning urbanism." It was planning on a small scale, which 
emphasized the design quality of repairs to the urban fabric 
and the improvement of the quality of life throughout the city. 

It is often said that we gave priority to projects at the 
expense of the plan itself. I would prefer to call it a process that 
resulted from actions, which in turn stemmed from projects, 
which have their own executive dimension and, taken together, 
are strong enough to redevelop the city. 

This concept of actions and projects has a long tradition in 
the field of design and city management.^ However, it had 
been neglected by previous administrations, which were much 
less committed to the idea of change. These actions may refer 
to a general strategy of urban plan to prevent them from can- 
celling each other, but each should be coherent in its own right 
and sufficiently independent of the general plan that it can 
survive on its own. Actions should speak for themselves and 
not depend upon, or place too many demands upon, the rest 
of the system. 

Urbanism in pre-Olympic Barcelona was marked by two 
fields of operation. These were, first, to give priority to work on 
public spaces (streets, squares and gardens) because they are 
the backbone of local communities. Second, we set out to rebal- 
ance the city center areas with the outskirts with the aim of 
converting the suburbs, lacking the most essential public ser- 
vices, into centers in their own right.^ In both areas, the city 
gained new open spaces by recovering obsolete sites, such as 
the old slaughterhouse, derelict industrial areas and textile fac- 
tories and unused railway installations, and sites for which new 
public facilities had been proposed but never developed. 

There was always a concern for the quality of design, not 
only for the sake of aesthetics but also because we believe that 
in this way we contribute to the making of the city. One out- 
standing feature of this concern for design was the street sculp- 
ture program, which has furnished the city streets with works by 
important local and foreign artists, among them an important 
group of American sculptors, such as Richard Serra, Ellsworth 
Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein and Beverly Pepper 

A great change of scale happened in 1986, when Barcelona 
was nominated by the International Olympic Committee to host 
the 1992 summer Olympic Games. Organizing the games was 
Barcelona's aspiration of old, but for us the most important 
reality was not the games themselves; the Olympics were mere- 
ly the pretext for our ambition. If we had not been nominated, 






(• 






^ 



* 






#^ 








^^S^^^_ 


Conceptual diagram 




of Barcelona's 


"darning urban- 


'^i 


ism" strategy. 



we would have transformed the city nevertheless, probably at a 
slower pace but nonetheless equally ambitiously. 

This new phase of urban transformations was centered on the 
large infrastructure the city required in order to cope with its his- 
toric deficits — mainly a lack of open space, greenery and access 
infrastructure, such as a ring road, airport and telecommunica- 
tions system — and was carried out in an exceptionally short peri- 
od, little more than five years. The main elements were the open- 
ing of the waterfront (with the demolition of a railroad that was 
a barrier between the city and the sea), the construction of a new 
residential district (the Olympic Village), the building of 40 km of 
ring roads, the reformation of the airport, substantial improve- 
ment in telecommunications (Santiago Calatrava's tower for the 
state telephone company, Sir Norman Foster's tower for radio 
and television) and a remarkable improvement of the hotel sec- 
tor New sports installations (including the rebuilding of the 
Olympic Stadium and Arata Isozaki's indoor arena), have substan- 
tially enriched the city's heritage. 

I would like to stress the strength of the Olympic project in 
generating social consent. The games and the urban transforma- 



PLACES 9:2 



27 





—:d^ lUMIIJ 



Downtown Los Angeles skyline. 
Courtesy Los Angeles Community 
Redevelopment Agency. 



The Vision and Strategies of the Los Angeles 
Downtown Strategic Plan 




gSlj 



ni i7sfil!!iT 



ii..jBsairi'i I 

|fSSF"ilnHPiii 



(Above) Location map of strategic interven- 
tions proposed for downtown Los Angeles. 

(Below/* ----r-m of main downtown districts. 








w^a 



Four years ago in Los Angeles, a large citizen committee was 
formed to develop a strategic plan for the central district. This 
Downtown Strategic Plan Advisory Committee worked with 
the staff of the Community Redevelopment Agency and a team 
of consultants to develop strategies for guiding future down- 
town development. 

The committee agreed that the existing qualities of down- 
town were to be respected and augmented. This was in direct 
contrast to the plan formed several decades before, which had 
replaced whole neighborhoods with new commercial develop- 
ment and had essentially displaced all existing urban patterns 
and uses. Second, the committee agreed that the existing dis- 
tricts needed to be interconnected in order to reinforce each 
other and to create a stronger social and economic framework. 
Third, the committee established a goal of incorporating at least 
100,000 new residents in downtown and its environs. 

Respecting existing qualities came to be known as "making 
the most of what you've got." Downtown is a vital economic 
center where more than 300,000 people are employed. An 
impressive amount of growth has occurred there in recent 
years; while this growth is of inconsistent architectural and 
urban quality, downtown retains an extensive and impressive 
inventory of historic places and buildings. These include two 
historic districts composed the city's early financial center and 
its first theater district, where the movie industry concentrated 
its premieres for many years. Nearby are El Pueblo, where Los 
Angeles was founded; Little Tokyo, the heart of Japanese- 
American culture in the city; and the civic center (the second 
largest such district in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C.). 
Unfortunately, these special qualities and distinctive places are 
rather disconnected from each other; between them are too 
many places of no distinction and no clear value — places of no 
inherent privilege. 

At a broader scale, downtown manifests a coherent structtire 
comprised of three components. The largest, which we call 
"the city," includes the civic center, cultural facilities, the finan- 
cial center, the primary residential and shopping areas, the 



28 



PLACES 9:2 



tions related to them were not only a cause of civic pride but also 
a factor in social cohesion. 

The urban transformations related to the Olympic Games 
have substantially improved Barcelona's quality of life. Now our 
city is more accessible and more livable, with more open space, 
a better traffic system and better communications. Even if the 
economic climate has changed from a year ago, we are in a bet- 
ter position to face the current recession. 

The City is the People 

The whole restructuring of Barcelona, the recovery of the city 
through its public spaces, the policy of opening up the most 
densely populated areas and the aim of terminating the isola- 
tion of the suburbs, has been guided primarily by the old 
Shakespearian ideal: "the city is the people." 

The city is capable of absorbing large doses of misery and 
suffering and the diversity of humanity, all taking place within a 
given area. But its leaders must find the right way to guide the 
required processes of constant action against isolation, excessive 
discrimination and lack of communication — that is, to adhere 
to the old principle that the city should accept neither barriers 
nor pockets of isolation. Many times a city must sew the borders 
between different areas together in order to prevent barriers 
from arising. Diffusing problems throughout a city, rather than 
segregating them into pockets, can help as well. 

We feel the same passionate love Sert and the modern move- 
ment felt for the city. If the city were rescued, they said, "our civ- 
ilization will have experienced a profound change, yet the con- 
tinuation of its soul and its heritage will have been assured." 

Notes 

1. Previously, development had been managed only loosely, with 
much construction occurring in violation of planning rules. The 
result was too much densification and a loss of design quality. 

2. See,for example, Oriol Bohigas, Reconstruccio de Barcelona 
(Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1985) and Josep A. Acebillo's essay in 
Josep Subrios et. al. El vol de la fletxa (Barcelona: 1993). 

3. These efforts followed the so-called "Ten New City Center 
Areas Plan," created by J. Busquets. It established ten new central 
areas that were intended to relieve pressure on the traditional 
business district and rebalance the social composition of the city. 



Hnii 



u\\\^^^^^ 




ipii""*" 



Bill mini ■■"■■■■ 




A new space, the Pla^a Nova, in the Old City 
district. The building of the Catalan 
Architects Association, built in the 1950s, 
has designs by Picasso on the front. 




View of the Olympic Village. The ring road 
is depressed, allowing the construction of 
an open space with sculpture. 




Roy Lichtenstein's "Barcelona head" sculp- 
ture, at the Old Harbor area. 



PLACES 9:2 



Photos courtesy City of Barcelona. 



29 




Proposal for reopening the Los Angeles 

Theater in the downtown historic district. 

Courtesy Moule and Polyzoides, Architects and Urbani 



sts. 



University of Southern California and Exposition Park, with its 
historic Memorial Cohseum and important museums. A second 
large zone, which we term "the markets," includes economical- 
ly thriving light industrial and warehouse activities, including 
produce and fish markets, toy and small electronic manufactur- 
ing and distribution, garment manufacturing and other activi- 
ties that serve the region. Between them lies the historic core, 
including the two historic districts and the principal Latino 
shopping street. 

The plan's downtown-wide and district-specific strategies 
are complemented by an idea borrowed from Barcelona and 
from the direct experience of some committee members and 
consultants. It is a proposal for a program of catalytic projects 
to be implemented through both private initiative and public 
expenditures. These opportunistic and strategic projects are 
proposed at critical locations where they can augment an exist- 
ing strength, repair an urban condition, make a new linkage, be 
a new resource and stimulate additional nearby investment 
nearby. Each of them relates to an overarching set of basic 
objectives: economic development, social equity, accessibility 
and community. 

A number of such projects, begun a few years ago, are just 
now being completed. One of these is the restoration and 
expansion of the Central Library, originally designed by 
Bertram Goodhue. That project was funded as part of a larger 
development transaction that includes the construction of sev- 
eral office buildings, the restoration of a small park and the cre- 
ation of an important stairway that links the general downtown 
terrace with the cultural and commercial center to its north on 
Bunker Hill. The Central Librar)- was brought up to date for 
its operations, its civic significance has been restored and aug- 
mented, and previously disconnected places have been forged 
into a new and complex center. 

,\nother such catalytic project is the redevelopment of the 
downtown s major open space, Pershing Square, redesigned by 
Ricardo Legorreta and Laurie Olin. This central historic park 
was diminished years ago when a parking garage was built 
below it. In recent years it has once again created a public com- 
mcjns, a front door for the center of the cit\' located downtown 
between the historic core and the new financial center. 

Seventeen additional catalytic projects at a variet}' of scales 
are proposed in the plan. An especially important project is the 
consolidation of state offices along Spring and Fourth streets. A 
number of underutilized historic buildings will be restored and 
new infill construction initiated to accommodate 3,000 
employees. The historic district will be further brought to lite 
not only as the buildings are restored, but also as the new 
employees occupy and use the district. 



30 



PLACES 9:2 



A project along Fourth Street between Hill Street and 
Broadway would take advantage of the already existing subway 
station and make the linkages between Bunker Hill's corporate 
and cultural resources and the historic district. Reconstruction 
of the funicular, Angel's Flight, which will connect the top of 
the hill and the historic district, is scheduled to begin later this 
year. Such projects are likely to be attractive themselves and are 
essential components of an overall strategy for linking districts. 
Such linkage is as much a strategy for cultural interconnection 
as for supporting pedestrian movement and enjoyment. 

Especially interesting is the initiative proposed for St. 
Vibiana Cathedral, in fact a rather small church in a rather 
derelict but potentially central location. As the seat of the 
Southern California archdiocese and the home of a cardinal, it 
is the center of a great culture, but it has little visual presence. 
The proposal is to create a plaza that could support larger 
gatherings than can now occur within the cathedral and to 
define that plaza with a mixed-use project, including extensive 
new housing. 

The Urban Design Imperative 

In the end, our purpose must be clear: places of privilege 
everywhere for everybody. Such a sweeping mission can be 
accomplished. One of the most powerfid tools can be the 
strategic design of projects that are catalytic and place-making, 
able to augment the economic and cultural identity of a neigh- 
borhood or district. Imagine the cumulative impact of such 
projects in our cities — hundreds of projects each year, most of 
them privately sponsored, year after year, making places more 
whole and evocative. 

The leadership of architects and urban designers, of public 
officials and clients, of critics and teachers must be brought to 
this fundamental cause. We can create a sense of privilege in 
the places where little has been present before. 

Notes 

1. Christopher Alexander, A New Theory ofUrhtm Design (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1987). 

2. Peter Buchanan, "Regenerating Barcelona with Parks and Plazas," 
Architectural Review 175 Qunt, 1984): 32-46. 




Above: Steps connecting Bunker HIM 
financial district with renovated Central 
Library and retail district. 
Below: Renovated Grand Central Market, 
along Broadway In historic district. 
Courtesy Robert S. Harris. 




PLACES 9:2 



31 




THE NETHERLANDS 



Civic Design 
for the State 



Kees Rijnboiitt 




The quality of the the constructed 
environment, the way it is perceived, is 
an important factor in people's sense of 
well being, both as individuals and in 
their interactions with others. This is 
probably one of the most frequently 
studied themes in regard to the 
human-made environment, yet very 
different views on the question have 
been held during different periods. 

In The Netherlands, for many years, 
the government was insufficiently 
aware of its own position as a builder of 
a physical, architectural environment. 
This was so in spite of the fact that the 
complex of buildings housing our par- 
liament and government, the 
Binnenhof, is an exemplary place — an 
open and public complex that you can 
touch, enter and photograph and which 
you can even walk straight through. 

In the last decade, the government 
has become increasingly aware of its 
central role in the shaping the quality 
of that environment. At the same time 
the government, in keeping with its 
policy of pulling back in general, is 
pursuing the development of its own 
facilities through other parties, namely 
the open market, or through coopera- 
tive public-private projects. 
(Nevertheless, the government is the 
The Netherlands' largest commission- 
er of building construction.) 

As the state or chief architect for 
the government of The Netherlands, I 



am responsible for the safeguarding of 
the urban design and the architectural 
quality of government buildings, good 
maintenance of listed monuments and 
landmarks owned by the government, 
and the quality and execution of visual 
art in newly constructed state build- 
ings. Increasingly, I function as an 
advisor to other departments, such as 
roads and waterways, and defense, in 
their activities concerning architecture 
and urban design. 

The strategic plan for accommodat- 
ing government offices is the 
Government Housing Plan, revised 
every four years by Parliament. In addi- 
tion, in 1991, the ministers ot social 
housing, physical plarming and envi- 
ronment and the minister of welfare, 
health and cultural affairs published a 
joint document on architectural policy. 
The policy lays out three aspects to 
design quality — user value, cultural 
value and future value. These are the 
three familiar Vitruvian values — utili- 
tas, venustas ^ndfirmitas. The policy 
document explicitly states that the role 
and task of the government are to set 
examples in the area of urban design 
and architecture, and that, especially in 
the case of incorporating a building in 
an urban context, government should 
be aware of its role as a catalyst. 

It is one thing to draw up a policy 
document in which society accords 
itself the right to stimulate architec- 



ture. It is quite another thing to create 
appropriate, market-oriented and 
beautiful or relevant buildings when 
one is working in such a rapidly chang- 
ing context. 

We only do business with develop- 
ers and investors when agreement on 
the choice of architect is reached in 
advance. The whole process of design 
is accompanied and stimulated by the 
state architect and his staff. Needless to 
say, the functional requirements have 
been determined beforehand, .^nd the 
location of the building must meet 
requirements for accessibility by public 
transportation. 

As to monuments, an extensive and 
culturally significant stock of important 
buildings has come under the jurisdic- 
tion of the government; about 20 per- 
cent of the total area that the 
Government Buildings Agency has 
available is in listed buildings or others 
of equal importance. These buildings 
include the major examples of state 
architecture, such as palaces, parlia- 
ment buildings, the round prisons still 
in use in Arnhem, Breda and Haarlem, 
and various court buildings. The care 
and appropriate use of both these 
showpieces and some 300 other listed 
buildings managed and used by the 
government requires special expertise 
and, in some cases, extra money. 

A listed building is often less effi- 
cient than a new office block. On the 



32 



PLACES 9:2 



other hand, it offers intangible benefits 
that its users are aware of and appreci- 
ate. A good building will continue to 
function when the agency responsible 
for the building continues to put itself 
to the test. By good, I mean that the 
building is capable of adequately fulfill- 
ing its role as accommodation at rea- 
sonable cost. 

The time is now for us to concern 
ourselves with the future value of the 
environment we have built (both the 
buildings and their contexts). A build- 
ing can no longer be seen as an object 
with a static function. Flexibility and 
adaptability are prime criteria for 
assessing a structure that must last for 
fifty years, before a decision can be 
made about its eligibility to be listed. 
Future value in the sense of use, of 
course, much more than the inventive 
solutions of built in structures, flexible 
cabling routes or computer floors. 

Historic city centers, for example, 
have shown that they possess future 
value, which lies in its ability to change 
without essentially altering its charac- 
ter while at the same time gaining in 
meaning. Mixing the functions of liv- 
ing and working, environment differ- 
entiation and versatility go hand in 
hand with the atmosphere created by 
the buildings and the public. 

We are experimenting with this 
more than ever with our new initia- 
tives. As much as possible, government 
buildings with a public function are 
located within the existing urban limits 
in order to benefit from reciprocal 
effects or to exert a positive influence 
in terms of openness, liveliness, dura- 
bility and safe streets. For buildings 
with a public function, peripheral loca- 
tions where they tower above motor- 
ways are strictly taboo! 

I believe it is extremely important to 
pay close attention to the quality of 
public space, to the design of the city, 
as an essential element in a good devel- 



opment strategy. Since in The Nether- 
lands the government doesn't actually 
do the building anymore, you may 
wonder what the developers who put 
up the buildings into which we move 
and the institutional investors who pro- 
vide the money think about our preoc- 
cupation with all these architectural 
and urban standards. During a sympo- 
sium one of them said: 

When you Ve dealing with the level, the 
standard of a project, there are things that 
are not really necessary — // park, works of 
ait, shops, a square and other facilities. But 
they are necessaiy to raise the standard of 
the development. 

The problem is that you cannot I'ecover 
the costs in the first instance, because when 
it is first rented the price level is deter- 
mined by the competing buildings. That's 
the rub. You pay for something, but you 
don 't immediately get it back. It is a mis- 
take that has certainly been made by some 
investors. They build cheaply to make a 
profit in the short teiyn, while losing 
money in the long term. Going for quality 
pays ojfin the second or third rental. 

Why is Rockefeller Center in New 
York so much better known worldwide 
and so much more expensive than the 
buildings next to it? Purely because of 
its quality in architecture, in urban 
design, in the quality in general for the 
people who work in it, visit it or just 
pass by. That is a reputation that has to 
be earned. Be sure that it does not 
come overnight; you have to work at it. 



(Opposite page and below) 
The Hague, extension to the lower 
house of the States General. Design 
by Pi de Bruijn, Amsterdam. 
Photos courtesy author. 



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KUMAMOTO. TOKYO 



Public Architecture 
for a New Age 



Fiimihiko Maki 



The Meiji restoration, which took place nearly 130 years ago, also marked 
the beginning of the modernization of Japanese architecture. Up until 
then, Japan had been a feudal society ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate. 
Though civil engineering projects had been undertaken, there had been 
no buildings that were public in the Western sense — stadiums, universi- 
ties, libraries, government buildings and the like. 

The Meiji government dealt with public architecture within the context 
of urban development, through its own bureaucratic apparatus. Young, 
talented, would-be architects were recruited by the ministries of finance, 
home affairs, justice and railways and were sometimes sent abroad to 
study. As a result, many public buildings of relatively high quality (mod- 
eled, of course, on Western architecture) were constructed by the 1920s. 

At times, professor-architects from the best known public universities 
(such as Tokyo and Kyoto Imperial) were commissioned to produce basic 
designs, which were then developed and completed by the building depart- 
ment of government ministries. Professional architects having no govern- 
ment affiliation were very rarely commissioned to design public buildings. 
(Their low social status is discussed at length in the diar\' German architect 
Bruno Taut kept when he was in Japan ft-om 1935 to 1938). 

This began to change after World War II. Much of the energy expend- 
ed in reconstructing Japan, particularily up to the 1970s, was focused on 
building public housing, primary and secondary schools, and social wel- 
fare facilities. The main objective was to provide a sufficient number of 
such buildings at a low cost. During this time, works of public architecture 

34 PLACES9:2 




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A "Ukioe" print illustrating a typical 
Western-style building after the Meiji 
Restoration of the 1870s in Tokyo. 
Courtesy Fumihiko Maki. 




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Hotakubo housing. Designed by 

Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop. 

Top © Shigeo Ogawa, Shinkenchiku. 

Right courtesy Fumihiko Maki. 






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Location map of the projects in Art Polis, 
Kumatnoto. Courtesy Fumihiko Maki. 



by architects like Kenzo Tange and Kunio Maekawa began to 
receive international attention. Moreover, government agencies 
underwent a major reorganization and more commissions for 
public buildings began to be awarded to professional architects. 

The 1980s brought unprecedented economic prosperity. 
Both public institutions and the general public expressed 
greater concern for the quality of public architecture, which 
began to be seen as a means of expression especially emblemat- 
ic of an information and comsumption oriented societv'. Public 
institutions were able to award commissions for public build- 
ings with a much higher unit cost than those before the war, 
particularily cultural facilities such as art museums and concert 
halls. And throughout Japan, public architecture began to 
depart from a simple functionalism whose aim was to be neu- 
tral and easy to use. 

In recent years two local governments in Japan have taken 
equally noteworthy but very different approaches to public 
architecture. One is Art Polis, a program of the Kumamoto 
Prefectural Cjovernment, and the other is the committee estab- 
lished by the Tokyo Metropolitan Ciovernment to select archi- 
tects. In Kumamoto, a small group ot persons select young, 
energetic architects who previously have had few opportunities 
to design public buildings; Tokyo's system reflects die opinons 
of many individuals, involving selection by a committee. 



36 



PLACES 9:2 



Art Polis 

Kumamoto City is a city of 600,000 residents; the population of 
Kumamoto Prefecture as a whole is only 1.6 million, compared 
to Tokyo's 12 million. The sudden appearance of forty build- 
ings that look unlike anything people had ever seen before not 
only made a significant contribution to the creation of a region- 
al identity, but also had a much greater impact on the public 
than would have been possible in a mammoth city like Tokyo. 

Art Polis was initiated in 1988 by former governor Morihio 
Hosokawa, who later became Japan s prime minister. After vis- 
iting the IBA projects in Berlin in 1987, he conceived the idea 
of creating a series of public buildings by selected innovative 
architects and invented the name Art Polis to characterize his 
ambitious concept. He then invited Arata Isozaki, an old friend 
and advisor, to act as commisssioner for the project with 
Hajime Yatsuka as secretary general. After only four years, 
more than 25 Art Polis projects have been realized and twenty 
more are under construction. 

The following is a quote from Hajime Yatsuka describing 
the concept of Art Polis: 

The principal signifkance of An Polis resides in the fact that it is the 
first time that so many av ant garde architects ... are of the younger gen- 
eration "whose age do not go beyond the forties at the time of commission. 
Those younger generation had, until then, seldoin had chances to get 



involved in public buildings. Many internationally well-known build- 
ings by them were either small residential works or commercial ones. 

Unlike European precendents. An Polis is a rather modest pro- 
gram. It is a series of independent projects. Except for two joint hous- 
ing projects, they are dots and not planes. And it is not intended to 
change the whole urbari structure by not establishing any effective 
guidelines, because Japanese society, and he?ice the city's morphologi- 
cal structure, were too pluralistic for the projects to be guided by a 
single Tnajor principle. ... 

The choice of architect for each program was very cnicial. That 
they are excellent architects is not enough — they should be the best 
choices for their specific programs. They could be well illustrated in two 
different kinds of approaches in housing complexes — one, more like 
the product of European housing of the heroic period, the other by new 
prog>-afm of its own, where the exploration of such a new program was 
vital for itsfonnal consequences. The other issue pursued in An Polis is 
inter-nationality and locality. Not only were the architects invited from 
Tokyo or Osaka, architects fi'o?n abroad — Renzo Piano, Lapena and 
TotTes, and Tom Henegan, were commissioned. 

Most of the projects, except the Bimraki Theater ly Kazuhiro Ishi, 
are anything but liter-ally tr-aditional. Even the theater may look ti-adi- 
tional, but on closer inspection ... the iconoclastic use of wooden bea?m in 
the theater and the rotunda exhibition hall annexes, have no histor-ic 
precedent in Japan. These projects significantly indicate the very m,oder- 
nity of Japan, where no genuine inteniationality nor r~egionality exist. ^ 




Seiwa Bunraku Puppet 
Theater. Designed by 
Kazuhiro Ishii Architect 
and Associates. 
Photos © Shigeo 
Ogawa, Shinkenchiku. 




Tokyo's Architectural Selection Committee 



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Higashi NJhonbashi police box, Tokyo. 
Designed by Atsushi Kitagawara + ILCD. 
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa, Shinkenchil<u. 





Tokyo Seair le rdi k. 

Designed by Yoshio Taniguchi and Associates. 

Photo courtesy Fumihiko Maki. 



Tokyo's new direction commenced in early 1980, when the 
Tokyo Metropolitan Government established an architect 
selection committee. The intention was to have impartial 
architects select appropriate designers for buildings that were 
expected to become the nucleus for the future urban develop- 
ment and, therefore, required a symbolic quality. 

The committee was empowered to select architects through 
nomination, simple proposals and interviews, or limited or 
open competitions. The most noteworthy example was the 
open international competition for the Tokyo International 
Forum, which was awarded to Rafael Vinoly and is now under 
construction. 

Historically in Tokyo, as in other large cities, influential 
architectural firms, particularly those with established connec- 
tions to the city's building-related agencies, would be commis- 
sioned for a large share of such work. The introduction of 
these new selection methods represented a drastic change. 

From 1982 to 1986, architects for twenty-five projects were 
selected by these methods. These projects varied in scale and 
type, ranging from a concert hall, gymnasium, aquarium, park 
and welfare facilities, to ward offices and police boxes. Young 
architects were being actively engaged. 

Public architecture has not escaped without problems. In 
many cases there was inadequate preparation and analysis for 
civic buildings before design activities commenced. Man\' pro- 
jects have been realized in unfav()ral)le locations because of the 
shortage of available properties, particularily in large cities like 
Tokyo and Osaka. 

In smaller towns and cities, first-class facilities, such as large 
museums or acoustically superb concert halls, have been built 
without the art collections or programs to befit them. They are 
often used for the exhibitions of local Sunday painters or 
karaoke contest among local residents. Much time must pass 
before such facilities reach cultural maturity and sophistication. 
The irony is, when such time arises, there may not be public 
funds available to capitalize on their formative efforts. 

Public Architecture and Urban Structure 

WTiile public architecture has often failed to change the basic 
morphology of the city, it has made certain contributions to the 
city's cultural makings. \s Tokyo demonstrates, ser\ice-related 
industries tend to create a multiplicity' of centers scattered 
throughout an urban area. It is almost impossible for such cities 
to emulate Paris and to provide a new visual framework and 



38 



PLACES 9:2 



focal point with a series of grand public projects. And because 
Tokyo is such an enormous city, the public projects it sponsors 
bound to be more widely scattered and seem more isolated 
than those in Kumamoto City. 

In cities like Toyko and Kumamoto, each individual work of 
pubhc architecture should be strategically located and possess 
an urbanity of its own. The sites for the projects within Art 
Polls were often spontaneous and not strategic in the sense of 
an overall master plan; they were selected in accordance with 
the availability of land. But the modest size of the city and the 
proximity of the newly built projects to one another has 
allowed for a certain sense of urbanity to permeate the city. 

Many cities of the twenty-first century will come to have 
mulit-centered structures, and for that reason, new urban 
forms and functional organizations will be needed. It is in such 
a context that the role of public architecture must be examined. 

Note 

1. Hajime Yatsuka, "Beyond Personal Architecture; Kumamoto Artpolis 
Phase One," The Japan Architect (Summer 1993): 14-23. 















uw~ 



Plan illustrating development of service 
industries in Tokyo. Black indicates locati 
in 1960; gray indicates location in 1981. 
Courtesy Fumihiko Maki. 




Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. 
Designed by Fumihiko Maki + 
Maki and Associates. 
Photo © Satoru MIshima. 



PLACES 9:2 



39 




FRANCE 



Competitions and 
Architectural Excellence 



Jacques Cabanieu 



During the past 1 5 years, France has 
become one of the richest and most 
active countries in the field of contem- 
porary architecture. Having archiects 
compete with one another in architec- 
tural competitions has undoubtedly 
been one of the main instruments used 
to revive architectural quality. 

France is the only country in 
Europe with regulations making com- 
petitions a prerequisite for the alloca- 
tion of publically-funded construction 
projects exceeding a certain cost. The 
procedure obliges the client to reim- 
burse the cost of studies made by the 
teams selected, a fact that leads them to 
organize limited competitions in order 
to reduce the number of participants. 

For some 10 years, the practice of 
holding competitions has spread and 
now concerns not only all public-sector 
projects but also certain city planning, 
civil engineering and even private con- 
struction projects. Competitions have 
become fashionable — more than 
1 ,000 are organized a year, for the 
smallest municipality to the largest 
government agency. They account for 
most of the work that many profes- 
sional designers have. 

The rules governing the organiza- 
tion of competitions are set forth by a 
national agency, the Interministerial 
Mission for the Quality of Public 
Construction. The agency has recog- 
nized a number of principles that are 



essential to ensuring quality in archi- 
tectural design: 

• Pre-approved lists of architects 
and construction models have been 
suppressed. 

• The ultimate responsibility for a 
project must be in the hands of the 
clients, whose authority must be 
strengthened and whose involvement 
in the process must be total. 

• Preliminary programming studies, 
developed with the participation of 
users, are fundamentally important. 

• The global cost of construction 
and maintenance objectives must be 
considered in building design. 

All competitions begin with the def- 
inition of a program, based on prelimi- 
nary studies. This program is a docu- 
ment used as a basis for discussion and 
as a reference for all participants. The 
preliminary studies, carried out with 
the participation of the users, include a 
period of reflection on the institution, 
on the organization of work and on the 
services to be provided to users. 

Numerous questions are posed. 
\ATiat is the function of the building 
and what activities does it involve? 
What site should be selected and how 
should the building fit into it? WTiat 
symbolic image should be created? 
These questions can be used to deter- 
mine the demand, evaluate the needs 
and define the objectives of the project. 

What are the advantages and disad- 



40 



PLACES 9:2 



Donlyn Lyndon: What is exciting about 
the competition system was not the 
result, not the fact that it was competi- 
tion (although it"s good to allow new 
stars to form). It the systematic effort 
toward raising the understanding of 
what architecture can be and what the 
parts are that go together to make it 
that way. It is the agency helping peo- 
ple acquire real understanding of the 
project, requiring the project really be 
understood through a technical assess- 
ment. A competition by itself isn't any 
better than some other system. But it is 
better if it is part of a really carefully 
constructed, continuous program of 
learning, formulation and making pro- 
grams. 



vantages of this procedure? First, a 
competition offers a choice between 
several projects, not between several 
architects. A competition balances the 
powers of the client, who has to respect 
the winning project, and those of the 
architect, who cannot impose his or 
her project because it must first be 
selected by the jury. It give new design- 
ers a better chance, opening up com- 
missions to young and even foreign 
candidates. And it stimulates creativity, 
contributing actively to the architec- 
tural debate of our time. 

This procedure does have its disad- 
vantages. It precludes any contact 
between the client and the designer 
until the jury has made its choice. It is 
exhausting for the profession and 
results in a certain waste of creativity. 
(That is why reimbursement of candi- 
dates who are not selected must be 
provided for in every competition.) 

The competition process certifies 
the integrity of the winning project, 
one of the best guarantees of architec- 
tural quality. Once the choice is made, 
the project is protected; the concept 
cannot be questioned. This situation is 
very different from that of a direct con- 
tract, in which the employer is free to 
accept or refuse the architect's propos- 
al, or to ask for modifications to bring 
it in line with what is expected. 

Although the completed building 
will comply with the original concept. 



its design may have been changed and 
improved. The limited level of elabora- 
tion demanded in the competition 
allows the project to evolve. A compe- 
tition based on sketches offers 
immense flexibility to adapt. It is an 
open proposal that can be enriched by 
dialogue with the client during the 
phases following the decision. Long 
hours of cooperative effort between the 
client, the users and the architect lie 
ahead before the project is finalized. 

Competitions are now being orga- 
nized for civil engineering structures, 
such as highway viaducts in mountain- 
ous regions or bridges over the Seine 
River in Paris. They have concerned 
urban design projects like the renova- 
tion of public squares and parks and 
urban renewal, as well as simple pro- 
jects like water towers and cemeteries. 

The systematic use of competitions 
can offer a good chance of improving 
architectural quahty in public con- 
struction projects. The objective of 
these competitions must be to open up 
commissions, and the consequence will 
be a renaissance in architecture, an 
emergence of new firms of architects 
producing quality architecture, a 
marginalizing of the extremely hermet- 
ic clique of star architects wielding 
massive cultural power and a decrease 
in the importance of large architecture 
firms, the veritable industrialists of the 
profession. 



Robert Blaich: 1 think we have pretty 
good evidence about the value of 
design competitions. In France, there is 
excellent work coming out of the 
design competitions. The way they go 
about it sounds very complicated, but 
the results seem to be good. I'd like to 
propose that we build design competi- 
tions into both federal and state pro- 
cesses. Look at the scheme for public 
art, one percent mandated for public 
art in many federal, state and local pro- 
jects. What if you put another one per- 
cent for a competition? 

Stanley Tigerman: I don't think compe- 
titions are necessarily the answer by 
themselves, not in terms of architec- 
ture, urban design or planning. They 
often lead often to reinforcing the con- 
ventions. 

Massimo Vignelli: Competitions aren't 
the same in every country. In France 
competitions work very well because the 
French love process and because of the 
way French competitions are prepared; 
the amount of homework they do is 
incredible. In the U.S., competitions 
don't have the same connotations. Here, 
a competition is more like an award. In 
France, architects will work out the 
prices of different proposals so the 
judges can have those figures. This 
would never happen in the U.S. 



PLACES 9:2 



41 




ENNEVILLIERS 



Recreating the Image of Luth 



Lucien Kroll 



a 

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■ 



Four million social housing units have been constructed in France during the past 20 or 

30 years. Many were so poorly conceived, constructed and occupied that they will have 

to be demolished, and others will have to be rehabilitated for the same price as the 

cost of their construction. The politics of allocating housing, the differences in 

their residents' purchasing power and the spontaneous arrival of foreigners (who 

were invited at first, then came clandestinely), have turned many of these "^^ ■*♦ 

places into ghettos of poverty and exclusion, ready to explode or languish. 

The design of these housing complexes does not make residents feel as if they are 
at home; there is no street, no group of houses, no defined public space, no visible con- 
nection to the outside. Personally, I hate this architecture. But I sometimes try to save 
it (the inhabitants, at least), adding buildings and spaces that are the opposite — 
welcoming spaces, private and public gardens, cultural and commercial 
places that can attract visitors from beyond the neighborhood, 
streets leading to the outside, workplaces and a "dis- 
order" that will be regarded as normal 
urban life. 






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Montage illustrating major concepts 
for transforming the Luth hous- 
ing complex. Illustrations 
courtesy Lucien Kroll. 



The transliitioii of this ankle fro??! 
the original Fre?ich text is by 
Adrienne Zicklin and 
Todd W. Bressi 





Sketch of Le Luth with major proposals and illustrative 
concepts indicated. 

1 . Rue Lenine 

2. Rue Beaumarchairs 

3. Avenue des Colombes 

4. Boulevard Coubertin 

5. Rue Gerard Philippe 

6. Rue Guy de Maupassant 

7. Autoroute 

8. Port of Paris 

9. School district 

10. Private and semi-private gardens 

11. New commercial street 

12. "The Peak" 

13. Cuts through existing buildings 

14. Bridge over avenue des Colombes 

15. Redesigned Colombes-Coubertin crossing 



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44 



PLACES 9:2 



One of these areas is Le Luth, a district in Gennevilliers, a 
suburb 10 kilometers west of Paris, where 1 1,000 people live in 
3,500 apartments. Le Luth is enclosed on the north by an 
autoroute, on the east by boulevard Coubertin (an urban auto- 
route, which is not acknowledged), on the south by the avenue 
Colombes (always difficult to cross) and to the east by the rest 
of the old city, which is dense and of a cordial character. 

Inside those boundaries, the neighborhood is divided into 
groups of occupants — those located to the west (renters) and 
their compatriots to the east (co-op owners) — who have no 
contact with each other. Between the two is a small commer- 
cial center (which is enclosed, without any outer windows), a 
very nice public garden set up in a fence, and towers that are 
too high, too long, too rigid and too identical. (Two of them 
curve and form a single building that meanders for a length of 
600 meters.) The density is no more than half that of the his- 
toric neighborhoods of Paris. 

The first surprise for a visitor approaching the neighbor- 
hood is that it is shut in. The neighborhood seems as if it is 
exiled. The neighborhood is blocked from the river gate and 
psychologically separated from its neighbors and from the city 
of which it is part. 

The second surprise is the congifuration of open spaces and 
interior streets, which are not really intended to be streets, just 
spaces for cars. One street (rue Beaumarchais) is curved, the 
other (rue Lenine) is (too) rectilinear. To make a street out of 
that non-human space, one needs a whole process: structuring 
several spaces alongside them, furnishing them a little (without 
too much parking) and, above all, reducing the number of win- 
dows that look upon them directly; one can plant tree screens 
that mask the buildings and make them less visible. 

Like similar places, the neighborhood suffers from mono- 
functionality (a factor in anesthetizing the environment) of 
housing and nothing else, then a little commercial center with 
its parking and, finally, a school zone completely separated 
from the houses. 

In 1990, the mayor of Gennevilliers invited four architects 
to take part in a competition of ideas for the redesign of Le 
Luth. Because of the French law that says all important public 
projects must be submitted to a competition, hundreds of com- 
petitions have been organized in recent years. They are pub- 
lished, discussed in symposiums, then realized and evaluated. 

The documents of the competition described a very large 
number of social actions in the neighborhood coming from all 
sorts of groups, opinions, manners and ends. We were very sur- 
prised and very touched that such activity was occuring in a 
place where the malaise was said to be so profound. We won the 
competition in paruiership with Massimiliano Fuksas. 



Actions 

T) make the area resemble a neighborhood in a real city, we 
must invite all the diversity of people and activities that nor- 
mally live and operate in the commonplace parts of cities and 
give them their richness. A certain number of housing units 
will be transformed in small increments, and others replaced in 
part by a redensification. 

The jnethod: We intend not to propose any form that does 
not respond to an issue posed clearly by a particular lifestyle 
(otherwise, we would be making only cosmetic changes). We 
do not want to create theories and activities of rehabilitation 
that only satisfy the architect. We offer here a fertile image 
that is meant to stimulate the thought process; it is not a solu- 
tion or even a proposition but a catalogue of possibihties. 

To adopt a form coming from an action, we first invented 
the action. We imagined a fairy tale. A crowd of pedestrians 
coming from the south of Gennevilliers wanted absolutely to 
cross Le Luth to the north and reach the Paris port (on the 
Seine River). So they did, and they demolished a long trench 
through the buildings, like a hurricane would. But as they were 
pedestrians (so they were civilized people) they remolished 
what they had just demolished, but following their own style: 
disorganized, diverse, unpredictable, after an evolving program, 
with popular forms of architecture and spaces. That created the 
south-north street (not north-south, as usual) of our project. 

Ecology: For us, the first ecology is the social ecology, not 
the urban ecology, not green engineering. It isn't necessary to 
put up solar panels; rather, inhabitants should be enabled to 
became active voluntarily in a movement to fight pollution, a 
movement of communication, of rooting, of interface with the 
context. Ecological urbanism is a relational urbanism. 

Economy: The elimination of this area as an enclave comes 
through heterogeneity: there will be more activities spread out 
diversely thorugh the course of the day and the week, and even 
more, the residents will no longer feel as though they are liv- 
ing in a cul-de-sac. Local employinent of all types is a mecha- 
nism for diversifying the area. 

At the moment, adding workplaces in the neighborhood is 
forbidden, but it is scandalous not to use this urban refurbish- 
ing as a tool for encouraging jobs. We should encourage jobs 
by building some workplaces before people ask for them and 
inviting people to work there. 

Security: Le Luth was a well-known place for buying hard 
drugs. The police couldn't eradicate drug sales. But now the 
people are leagued against drug dealing. 

The more the spaces are enclosed, the more there will be a 
feeling of security. Spaces that are shapeless and free, that 
allow everyone to go everywhere, understandably make resi- 



PLACES 9:2 



45 



One major proposal is to create a 

new south-north street that cuts 

through existing linear, high-rise 

apartment buildings. 

(Far right) Sketch of plan of new 

south-north street. (Right) Plan 

and axonometric of segment of 

the new street that crosses an 

existing boulevard and cuts 

through an existing building. 




dents anxious. The more easily a street, square or public space 
can be controlled, the safer it will i)e. 

It is clear that the height of the apartment buildings is a fac- 
tor in the lack of responsibility and indifference people show; 
they sometimes throw garbage out windows, probably because 
the surrounding spaces do not really belong to anybody. 

Residents: The participation of residents aims towards at 
least two moments of social contact: the inquiry and elabora- 
tion of suggestions and their verification. We no longer have 
the attitude of the '60s, when all was talked about and little 
worried about. Since then some methods have been experi- 
mented with, primarily contenting themselves with a small, 
representive group (it isn't useful to work with the great mass- 
es) who are easy to contact, can explain the life experience of 
the larger group and can effectively provide us with some con- 
trol (and occasionally even legitimization). G;y('//(';7.- 1 here is 
too much of a difference between the private initiative residents 
have taken on the balconies, which are sometimes wonderfully 
adorned, and the public areas, which are always dry deserts. A 
campaign of increasing the plantings will give a more contem- 
porary-organic allure to the development and will give relief 
from the seemingly ferocious density and the repetitive archi- 
tecture. It will be easy to interest the residents in the support 
and maintenance of the plants, even more than the private gar- 
dens (charming) that can be organized at the base of the build- 
ings (and form a transition there). 

The climbing plants will give legitimacy to the buildings; 
they will root themselves to the buildings and cover the con- 
crete facades. Some of the additions will have balconies that 
will enable the building to reflower with greenery. 

Covunercial center, nitirketphice: The shoppmg arcade has two 
entrances/exits. There is only one cafe facing the outside, a 



parking lot and a few abandoned cars; nothing else can be seen. 
We will be able to remodel the commercial center in the form 
of the south-north street and reorganize neighborhood park- 
ing. The arcade will be able to act an engine for the formation 
of a true European public space — an area that is closed in on 
all sides and surrounded by boutiques and maybe apartment 
building entrances. 

The Project 

Two ways of living are colliding as if in a combat of giants. The 
first we know well, it was built in Le Luth, it dates from the 
years of confidence, of objectivity, of redemptive workings. It is 
military' from birth. The second is civil. It is the complex cit\', 
which slowly wants to recolonise the first and to try to manage 
it. It is composed of entirely different elements, a less aggres- 
sive apprearance, ecolog\', history, cur\'es and oblique angles 
(not too many right angles). It does not admit repetition. 

A 7nain street: An opening will be demolished through the 
buildings to make way for the new path (principalh' pedestri- 
an). The street begins its cutting on the south bank of the 
avenue de C>olombes, visualh' disrupting the traffic (without 
diminishing efficiency). Ihen it crosses rue Beaumarchais and 
rue Lenine (breaking through v\hat crosses its path) antl ends 
north of the road between the schools. There it di\iiies, jump- 
ing over the autoroute (with a bridge and trees), heading to the 
Port of Paris. It has a destination, it is no longer a cul-de-sac. 

Scale: We have chosen to consider Luth not as a great terri- 
tory to examine, but as a mosaic ot independent and coordinat- 
ed small blocks of housing. The size of each block has been 
determined according to the range of view a pedestrian would 
ha\ e in taking a quick glance. We concentrated on the prob- 



46 



PLACES 9:2 




lems of each block independently from the others, then we 
examined the relationship between each its neighbor, prevent- 
ing us from hurrying us into making comprehensive decisions. 

The actual sequence of interventions must be outlined by 
those responsible and involved. It must never eminate from our 
general plan for the area; the details must be left for the neigh- 
borhood to decide, as in a democracy. Otherwise, even our 
vocabulary has a military stench. It doesn't address a plan (of 
battle); it only addresses map-making (cartography), a simple 
statement, a document that does not possess any decision-mak- 
ing power. It is an instrument of control, of management, of 
appreciation and of action, but never an instrument of creation. 

Avenue de Colombes: A few years ago, planners believed they 
had to create an autoroute, or at least a high-speed boulevard, 
here. We reconsidered the avenue as a Parisian boulevard, sur- 
rounded by interesting, active facades that turn one's attention 
to the streetwall and define some of the more urban spaces that 
are currently residual and setback spaces. 

At first, we proposed an inhabited bridge over the street, but 
this was a mistake — that would give the automobile the right 
to drive fast and feel at home! We now propose to eliminate 
the planted median strip, in order to assure openness and visi- 
bility along the length of the avenue (priorty to pedestrians). 
And in order to contrast the avenue's longitudinal direction, we 
impose some transversal visual relief and some transversal 
arcades towards the crossroads of the Couture d'Auxerre. 

The propoition of public spaces: I have been able to work on an 
interesting experiment at Berlin-Kreutzberg, at the time some 
old buildings were rebuilt and converted into social housing. 
The blocks' internal spaces had been reserved solely for the 
residents. They had been planted and provided with a small 
amount of equipment for children and walking paths. WTien I 




PLACES 9:2 



47 




New, low-rise buildings 
would be added along 
streets, like in this illustra- 
tive proposal for avenue de 
Colombes. The space 
between buildings would be 
transformed Into private and 
semi-private gardens. 



saw those spaces later, they had been subdivided into even 
smaller spaces. Those who were managing the project said that 
when residents could not see all the space to which they had 
access and know everybody entitled to cross the garden, their 
insecurity grew rapidly. 

The buildings: It seems urgent to change the image of the 
facades of the prefabricated buildings and, above all, the 
impact of their giant dimensions. We have the means to do it: 
exterior insulation and additions to the buildings can change 
the perception of scale and divide the great length of the 
facades into more comprehensible pieces. Each stairwell would 
receive a covering different from its neighbor. 

Existing buildings will be as varied and bustling as possible. 
Their entrances will be clearly identifiable. There will no 
longer be entranceways that cut through the building — those 
false entrances that open into the rear space, not to the street, 
that do not give residents and visitors access to facilities, activi- 
ties or gardens but are simply culs-de-sac. Additions will be of 
a traditional type; they will not be expressive of architectural 
style or construction technique. 

Additions- at the buses of buildings: Additions will permit new 
uses and diminish the great heights and lengths by masking 
them with solids of one to five levels. Additions will be con- 



structed following ordinary procedures (building permits, 
financing, etc.) through arrangements made by owners and ten- 
ants. We demolish nearly nothing. We superimpose a new net, 
contrasting with existing buildings while keeping and respect- 
ing them (but not for their authority and repulsive character). 

Offices: The two faces of the existing apartment buildings 
actually have different uses. One, well-oriented, contains 
rather spacious rooms (living rooms and bedrooms). The 
other, and especially in the center of the building, contains 
smaller spaces (including powder rooms). In their present 
state, the buildings will be very difficult to use for offices. 

We propose to add new floor space to the whole northern 
facade and to cover those facades with a new skin that demon- 
strates the changed use — reflecting glass, as in all recent 
offices. These additions will be easy and cost little to build 
because all the services and accessories already exist. 

There will not be a great concentration of offices. A mini- 
mum volume will be required so the offices can be recognized 
among the housing. In principle, all the spaces served by a sin- 
gle stairwell should be transformed into office space to avoid 
mixing with the housing. 

Gardens: The urban form of the prefabricated apartment 
buildings is weak, their relationship to each other is cold; 



48 



PLACES 9:2 



buildings have been placed in space without significance, with- 
out concern for their precise location. That is exactly contrary 
to the comfort of the people who live there, to creating a wel- 
coming environment, to traditional urbanism. In our urban 
tradition, spaces have always been visibly marked as public, 
semi-public or private. 

We attempt to repartition that indifferent space. We assume 
that people will behave differently if they are facing the front 
(the street) or back (the garden); those distinctions have disap- 
peared in the Modern order. This will strengthen the streets 
and public places, making them precise and delimited, design- 
ed for the urban acts of passage, meeting and communication. 

At the foot of the buildings, we propose non-public gar- 
dens. They will be reserved to be used by a family, the ground- 
floor inhabitants or those who live above (by means of a simple 
staircase). They will have friendly but efficient fences. They 
will be used either by families that use a single stairwell, and 
kept up between them, or by all the families in a building (or 
part of a building) and divided into areas for different uses. 

We have seen that some residents want private gardens, 
some want a semi-private garden (facing crosswise to an 
entrance) and some want a very specialized space. The organi- 
zation of the gardens will, perhaps, be delicate (jealousy, diffi- 
culty of upkeep, waste that falls from windows above, etc.), but 
that is always less serious than indifference. 

A peak: The apartment building on rue Gerard Philippe is 
doubtless the most monstrous. But we hate to recommend its 
complete demolition. We propose adding two transversal wings 
that would extend over its top with a demonstrative mass of sev- 
eral extra floors served by one stairwell. The first ensemble will 
rejoin the group of buildings proposed along boulevard Cou- 
bertin. The other wing attempts to rejoin the nursery in the 
park and passes at the foot of the towers whose base it scales. 

Gateways: To make Luth look more connected to the adja- 
cent neighborhoods, it is necessary that our new additions 
extend beyond the natural boundaries of the development to 
the neighborhood's outer limits. 

The large intersection of Coubertin-Colombes creates a 
vacuum around itself. Without diminishing its volume, we are 
giving it a "party," a crown of trees and are sculpted in the 
form of a high cylinder of foliage. Before the trees grow suffi- 
ciently, the artificial construction of trunks and branches. From 
a distance, this intersection will seem closed off, and traffic will 
slow down spontaneously. 

Inteifaces: All of the elements across the street from each 
other are coordinated. For example, we propose buildings of 
varied function on each side of avenue Coubertin , giving it a 
street form. Currently, the numerous pedestrians do not cross 
between the two banks of the avenue. 





The plan encourages shops, work- 
places and smaller parking areas 
along streets and around the bases 
of high-rise buildings. 



PLACES 9:2 



49 




The height and bulk of the neighborhood's 
tallest building would be tempered by a pair 
of wing-like extensions that slope down and 
become linear low-rise buildings. Its long, 
flat roof would be enlivened by the addition 
of a peak. 




On avenue de Colombes, the alignment of the trees and of 
the facades on opposite sides of the street make, in the loose- 
ness of their arrangement, a veritable Parisian avenue without 
recuding the lanes for circulation. It will actually he like rue 
Pierre Timbaud, which extends beyond avenue de C^olombes 
and handles the same traffic volume quite well. Without these 
facing facades, the "desenclavement" will not be successful. 

A few opinions: Each use will have its own expression, avoid- 
ing the neomodern obsession of emphasizing sameness ... all 
available materials will be used, just as in a real city ... different 
architects will be commissioned on the condition that they 
understand the fragmentation ... we will avoid making new 
buildings the same height as each other and as the old build- 
ings ... flat rooves will be for walking or planting upon; other- 
wise we will opt for a variety of forms, angles and materials ... 
the buildings will define the borders of the public spaces, not 
pre-decided geometries in a plan ... there will not be large 
parking areas but small clusters here and there ... facades of the 
existing apartment buildings will be broken up by watertight 
and insulating pieces that will be stuck on; these suspended 
additions will also add more details ... the line of the rooves 
will be modulated by adding some wood-structure houses 

To be sure not to project our preconceptions and not to 
obscure existing and future reality, we had recourse to the 
observation and judgment of our colleague, anthropologist 
Arlindo Stefani. 



This will not be a personal work of architecture, in the 
sense of the preceding period, but a continuity of architectural 
substance that will entrust continuing differentiation to occur 
piece by piece, in a mosaic, by a large number ot non-narcis- 
sistic architects different from each other and motivated by 
their participation. 

Each architect will be joined in a common mo\ement 
(like in all the cities) and will try their best to make their 
participation as personal as possible (with their contradic- 
tions and disputes) in the situation with which they will be 
entrusted (like in all the cities). Those choices will happen 
later, after we have completed a sufficient prototype. 

Already, for the first prototvpe, I have created a team 
with two other architects, all of us quite different and con- 
tradictor)'. I kept for myself the job of (dis)organizing the 
three, dividing the project so that each of us has a piece of 
work encrusted in the work ot another. Each inter\ention 
must be as recognizable as possible to create that chaotic 
landscape which, at a certain point, becomes a harmonious 
living landscape. 

The housing complex will become urban tissue; All thai we 
proposed in our competition proposal tor "disenchning" Luth 
was obliged to regard the area as an agglomeration ot indepen- 
dent elements but bound in an urban complicit)-. lb l)e adopt- 
ed by the municipal administration, that attitude must become 
formalized legally in regulations. 



50 



PLACES 9:J 





Some sections of the existing high-rise apart- 
ment buildings could be converted into offices. 
Low-rise housing, shops and workplaces could 
cluster around existing buildings. The changes 
would be incremental, directed by owners and 
tenants and designed by many architects. 



These large complexes are homogenous (this is truly con- 
trary to the urban tissue, which is by all rights heterogenous). 
All their behavior was precise, like the army and the factory. 
They pertained to a hierarchy (the same as if they are anony- 
mous). It is not the inhabitants who make the law; at best, they 
revolt against or negotiate with those in control. 

We have, in all our projects, looked to express that image of 
responsibility, that structure of being subsidiary in making the 
bet that the new, fragmented form would help the birth of het- 
erogeneity, of non-uniformity, come about smoothly.. 

Again, this change is necessary to enable the fragments to 
come forth and regain autonomy. And so they unite, they rely 
on the inside on a "moral," on a common rule of behavior, of 
politeness, of urbanity. And they inscribe those arrangements 
in a text and on a map explaining the rules. So, each element 
can be constituted in its own way, without having to give an 
account to any authority who can block initiative; each frag- 
ment can invent. Each element will know its options as well as 
its neighbor's. 

The Action and the Inhabitants 

After having reflected on our projects for a long time, having 
discussed them among themselves and with us so that they 
could understand them better, the municipality finally alerted 
the residents of Luth. 



First meeting, tumultuous, violent, for mutual information. 
Political, this one. Then others calmer, constructive. A group 
was created, became committed, forgot its egocentric demands 
and little by little, saw interest in the neighborhood! 

It took several meetings and our neutrality (we know we 
helped facilitate) for them finally to take action, in staircases 
(like the image that we had shown them), with little rooves (they 
are the nicest), of advances (activities), the bowling alley (more 
than 500 members), the little volumes along the north-south 
autoroute (they make several stores), the additions of stories (my 
terrace breaks through towards my neighbor's below), a foun- 
tain (a goblet filled with water), houses under the roof (that 
varies) of trees, of benches, a place for dogs (an obsession). 
They even worked physically taking away pieces of plastic foam 
with a saw that we brought, transforming the model of the 
Lenine building. 

Remark made during the last meeting: "Astonishing: All 
that we have said is incorporated in the model." So we can 
begin the project with the first intervention: breaking through 
rue Lenine. 

At the end, the image of the great ensemble will have disap- 
peared and the Luth will become a normal neighborhood, 
familiar, without precise limits, without anxiet\-, stitched 
together and communicative, like all the others. 



PLACES 9:2 



51 




LONDON 



1 

Designing Londdh Transport 



\ 



Raymond Turner 




Illustrations courtesy Raymond Turner. 

London's Underground Group, 
formed in the early 1900s by the 
merger of several transit companies, 
established a visual focus through 
its trademark (right) and architec- 
ture and graphics 




The design of the London subway's 
newest lines echoes some of London 
Transport's design style but also sig- 
nals the fragmentation of the system 
into smaller parts. 



\ 



I t / I f 




The Victorian era left public transporta- 
tion in London with an inheritance. 
Beneath the ground the Metropolitan 
Railway was opened in 1863 — the first 
underground railway in the world. Over 
ground, public transportation relied on 
horse-drawn busses on the roads and 
steam-hauled trains. 

During the early years of the twen- 
tieth century, a number of compaines 
providing public transportation amal- 
gamated into a larger, privately-owned 
organization called the Underground 
Group. They established a visual focus 
for itself through the use of a trade- 
mark comprised of a tram car in the 
center and underground railway lines 
leading to it. 

The Underground Group also 
developed a limited architectural 
vocabulary for its new stations and 
Uibe lines opened in 1906. The build- 
ings all followed the same architectural 
style and used a consistent approach to 
materials, color and lettering. 

In 1933, the Underground Group 
amalgamated with all the other under- 
ground railways and bus and train 
operators in London and formed one 
new monopoly public body (which 
came to be known as London 
Transport), responsible to the local 
government. The creation of a single 
authority responsible for all bus, tram 
and underground railway operations 
made it possible to develop a unified 



design ethic for the whole organization 
— an aesthetic that was consitent 
wherever the organization reached 
throughout the entire region. 

London Transport was anxious to 
promote the public image of a progres- 
sive, efficient, caring and style-con- 
scious company. According to Frank 
Pick, its chief executive, it was commit- 
ed to using design as a means of har- 
nessing commercial methods to the 
achievement of large social objectives. 

London Transport believed that 
good design could mean good business. 
Design presented a major opportunity 
for the company to contribute to the 
creation of a civilized and well-planned 
urban environment. 

In terms of product design its 
busses and uderground trains were the 
most advanced and sophisticated in the 
world. Bus development culminated in 
the custom-designed Route Master 
bus and train development culminated 
in the fully automatic one that is run- 
ning today. 

In terms of environmental design it 
created what was termed "a new archi- 
tectural idiom" consisting of two mod- 
ern design concepts appropriate for 
central London and suburban stations. 
Both designs established the familiar 
house style of London Transport for 
years to come and were capable of con- 
siderable variation for different sites 
and structures. 



52 



PLACES 9:2 



Innovative designs were also pro- 
duced for rebuilding ticket halls like 
Piccadilly Circus and the dramatic new 
headquaters for the company at St. 
James Park. Even bus garages were 
treated as part of the company's public 
identity and were used to give it 
greater presence. 

As far as information design was 
concerned, London Transport soon 
acquired an international reputation as 
a patrol of modern graphic art by com- 
missioning colorful pictorial posters to 
publicize the company's services. 
Throughout the interwar years, 
London Underground stations became 
popular showcases for avant-garde 
poster design. 

A particularly significant develop- 
ment in the company's publicity was 
the redesign of the geographical 
Underground map into the familiar, 
easy-to-read, topological diagram — 
the concept of which has been copied 
the world over. 

Through its product, environmen- 
tal and information design, London 
Transport was able to present to the 
travehng public a consolidated and 
unified message that every care had 
been taken to provide them with the 
best possible service, both convenient 
and easy to use. Each area of the design 
was treated with the same prioerity, 
and even earned the tangential compli- 
ment from archtectural historian 
Nikolaus Pevsner that "this was the 
most efficacious center of visual educa- 
tion in England." 

But as a result of many complex fac- 
tors there followed a degneration of 
design throughout the organization. 

Underground platform designers 
became preoccupied with superficial 
decoration, paricularly in overempha- 
sizing the geographical sense of place 
of each location. Passenger informa- 
tion on both trains and busses became 
sloppy, unclear and uncoordinated. 




Elements of London Transport's integrated design program, its architecture, 
graphics and vehicle design amounted to what one critic called "the most effica- 
cious center of visual education in England." 



Much of the hardware in use became 
treated as though it had nothing to 
contribute to the public perception of 
the company. 

There was even gross disrespect for 
the one thing that the company had 
developed and established as represent- 
ing all that was good in public trans- 
portation and in London — the sym- 
bol. It was redrawn in a variety of 
comic ways, often degenerating into 
advertising gimmicks for such things as 
the London Transport health plan or 
annual carol service. 

It would be oversimplifying the sit- 
uation to say that all this happened as a 
result of one incident. During the 
1970s plans were made to move the 
control of London Transport away 
from local government to central gov- 
ernment. Perhaps these political issues 
diverted everyone's attention from the 
integrated design policy. 

In the early 1980s a new authority 
was created — London Regional 
Transport — and after that London 
Transport ceased to exist as a company. 
This new body was charged with pro- 



viding the most cost effective passen- 
ger service within greater London. 
Part of its task was to make the main 
businesses of underground and bus ser- 
vices profitable so they were not so 
dependent on public financial support. 
In 1982 two major subsidiaries were 
created, one called London 
Underground Limited and one called 
London Busses Limited. The creation 
of these operationally independent 
subsidiaries presented LRT with the 
problem of formulating its own design 
strategy for the future. 

These changes have led to an ironic 
situation. Whereas design was once 
used to draw together the activities of a 
number of different companies at the 
turn of the century and unite them into 
an integrated transport service during 
the mid-century, the company was 
then faced with using design to help it 
handle precisely the reverse situation 
— to allow the controlled fragmenta- 
tion of the business on one hand while 
presenting a coordinated transport ser- 
vice to the public on the other. 



PLACES 9:2 



S3 




PORTFOLIO 



Santiago Calatrava's 
Dynamic Urbanism 



Donlyn Lyndon 




Platform, promenade and 
pergola of Zurich, 
Switzerland railroad station. 

Photos © Paolo Rosselll. 
Drawings courtesy Calatrava 
Vails S.A. 



Santiago Calatrava is best known, perhaps, for the sheer vigor of his de- 
signs — shapes that seem to fuse architecture, engineering and art. Embed- 
ded within many of his projects, as well, is a sensitive, d)Tiamic urbanism. 

A good design concept is not a big, simple idea in isolation; it is an idea 
that contains a large amount of information, often conflicting informa- 
tion. Calatrava's projects are elegant but they are not simple; they mobi- 
lize a great deal of information and hold together places that are extreme- 
ly complex. They make good places, not just good buildings or good 
bridges. It is the project and its surroundings that should become better 
through good design, not just the project. 

Every project, especially every public project, should have multiple pur- 
poses. A good project might be conceived with several purposes, or it may 
start out with a single purpose and then become more complex. The 
viaduct connecting the two main spans of Seville's Alamillo bridge is a sin- 
gular example of this — beneath it Calatrava created a beautiful space that 



54 



PLACES 9:2 



can be used for a market space and other activities that Unk together the 
area through which it passes. 

During the conference "Excellence in Public Service Design Abroad," 
Barcelona planner Josep Acebillo remarked that you have to approach 
designing infrastructure like designing a building; infrastructure, building 
section and city section must be seen as part of the same context. This atti- 
tude is evident in Calatrava's Zurich train station, which threads delicately 
along a hillside between two historic sections of the city. 

This portfolio features images of many projects designed by Calatrava . 
They reveal not only his distinctive visual style but also a patient and 
remarkably attentive urbanism, a way of building that infuses spirit in 
public places — from intimately-scaled entryways and shelters to the sky- 
hne of a city itself. 







\\v^ 



S@\vSB^ 



Site plan, Zurich, Switzerland rail- 
road station. A shopping concourse, 
promenade and station platform are 
woven into a hillside in an older sec- 
tion of the city. 




(Right) Canopy for post office, 
Lucerne, Switzerland 

(Below) Portico for railway station hall. 
Lucerne, Switzerland. 

(Opposite page, top) Entrance canopy, 
high school, Wohlen, Switzerland. 




i 



t 




^1 



Traffic light structure, 
Avenida Diagonal, Barcelona. 





Canopy for bus shelter and 
pedestrian underpass, 
St. Gallen, Switzerland. 



( 




(Above) Alamillo 
Bridge, Seville. 

(Left) Detail of foot- 
ing, Alamillo Bridge, 
Seville. 

(Below) Underside of 
viaduct, Alamillo 
Bridge, Seville, where 
market is held. 




Bridges and Bridging: 

infrastructure 

and the Arts 



Wellington Reiter 




Old Colony Bridge, boston 
Built by Schertzer Rolling Lift 
Co., 1898. While the impera- 
tive of the bridge was to 
ameliorate the conflicting 
patterns of rail and water 
traffic by use of a pivoting 
mechanism, the bridge 
designers created some of 
the most elegant formal, 
visual relationships to be 
found anywhere in Boston's 
built environment. 
Photo © Peter Vandewarker. 



The scenario: A bridge is required over a river in an urban area. Question: Who 
should peifoiyn the work? 

The problem, obviously, is technically complex. The span is great, the 
soil conditions not ideal and the budget less than one would hope for. 
And, of course, there are the basic questions of erection time, safety and 
maintenance that are part of any bridge project. Answer #1: An engineer. 

On the other hand, the bridge is to be an integral part of the city fabric. 
The site is highly visible and surrounded by significant works of architec- 
ture. The bridge's design must respond to these diverse conditions, 
addressing the past with respect while suggesting a progressive civic 
image. Answer #2: An architect. 

But engineers and architects are in part responsible for the bleak urban 
landscape through which we all pass everyday. They and other so-called 
professionals have blown it. Why not give someone else a chance? An 
artist, for example, couldn't do any worse and might possibly bring the 
creative insight the design of the built environment so obviously lacks. 
This is an opportunity to make something special — a work of art, not 
just a bridge. Answer #3: An artist. 

So goes the debate over who should be responsible for designing cities 
and infrastructure. What makes this dialogue especially complex is the 
introduction of the public artist into the mix. For artists to be successful in 
their bid to be considered as alternatives to the disciplines traditionally char- 
ged with designing the built environment, the stereotypes suggested above 
must remain firmly in place: the engineer is an uninspired technician, the 
architect is a client-oriented image-maker and the artist is a creative genius. 



60 



PLACES 9:2 







.^S^/^^ A)/i//?l/^DJL^ 






John Hedjuk's exploration, "Devil's Bridge," suggests a broader definition of archi- 
tectural practice. Hedjuk pursues the metaphoric possibilities of architecture, com- 
bining architectural intent with artistic sensibility. On many projects, architects 
are excluded from such explorations, which are all too often regarded solely as 
the province of artists. Drawing courtesy John Hedjuk. 



This essay reflects on how innovative design in the public 
realm is suddenly thought to be a question of public art. It will 
explore the expectations implicit in selecting artists as design- 
ers and the consequences of this new alignment of professional 
and artistic responsibilities. Finally, it examines the tension 
between infrastructure that serves a collective, pragmatic and 
social purpose and uniquely authored elements of art that are 
becoming institutionalized components of the public realm. 

The Mandate of Public Art Considered 

The advocacy of artists is primarily the responsibility of small, 
motivated organizations dedicated to elevating artists' partici- 
pation in the design of cities. 1 hese groups aim to intervene 
in the design of public buildings, private projects, parks, 
transportation networks and other infrastructure — compo- 
nents of city-making that by their scale and visibility define 
the public realm. 

As contemporary urban monuments are rarely invested 
with a recognizable sense of civittis, it is difficult to refute the 
crisis of banality that has fueled the call for public art. How- 
ever, it is not the stated intention of public art advocates to 
analyize the urban condition and its history; rather, they con- 
tend that by including artists in the conversation about city 
design, the result will be a more visually simulating, environ- 
mentally sustainable and user-sensitive public realm. 

However, in their effort to establish a beachhead in the de- 
sign world, public art promoters have employed an argument 
that is inherently contradictory. On the one hand, the artist, as 
a non-professional, is cast as being in tune with the needs and 
concerns of real people — as opposed to engineers, architects 
and urban designers, who are said to be preprogrammed and 
indifferent. It has even been suggested that artists' lack of 
training in design and urbanism assures they will not make 
decisions by formula or academic abstraction. 

On the other hand, artists enjoy a sort of hyper-professional 
status by virtue of the authority that comes with the concept of 
authorship — the very foundation of their art. They are fre- 
quently offered the opportunity to pose both questions and 
answers, a luxury that is rarely afforded to design professionals. 
Consider the contrasting scope of possibility oftered to archi- 
tects and artists in the case of a waste treatment facility in 
Phoenix. Critic Herbert Muschamp certifies architecture as a 
service industry and art as alchemy when he writes: "(the 
artists) were not hired to design a building. They were invited 
to imagine a place ..."' A more succinct definition of architec- 
ture would be difficult to find. 



The irony of the current situation is that as public art initia- 
tives (such as percent-for-art ordinances) are proliferating, 
architecture and urban design are bursting at the seams with a 
backlog of unrealized potential (so is engineering, to some ex- 
tent). Thus there is a widening rift between architecture's pos- 
sibility and conventional practice. As a result, while artists are 
leaving the gallery, buoyed by the possibilities of working on a 
grand scale, they are bumping into architects who are using 
the gallery as the site for their most progressive work. 

In the case of large infrastructure or public projects, the 
architects and engineers at the table frequently represent cor- 
porate firms that can offer stability, competence and technical 
capacity — risk is not what they sell. Aggressive problem seek- 
ing and solving by design professionals is usually not in evi- 
dence, and public art advocates would be loath to encourage it 
for fear of undercutting the exclusive claim of the artist as seer. 
Design culture, rather than encouraging artful thinking in all 
aspects of the public realm (the purported aim of public art 
advocates), is being segregated into carefully managed sub- 
groups — a situation reflected in our eviscerated public realm. 

Interestingly, architects have dominated open competitions 
that call for a synthesis of poetic representation, formal devel- 
opment, contextual integration and technical implementation. 
Examples can be found in the outcome of recent memorial 
competitions in Atlanta, Boston, C^ape Cana\eral, New York, 
Salem and elsewhere. 

This is not to suggest, however, that what architects do is 
art — it most frequently is not. Instead, one should question 
why design issues like marking a site or creating a threshold 
have been made into questions of public art when they are 
clearly the historical foundations of a meaningful architecture. 

Writing about Roman architecture, historian William 
MacDonald has stated: av architecture of passage Iwhich] ynarked 
significant armature points and transitions ami provided amenities 
along the way. Passage architecture is a proper iirha/i building cate- 
gory, a basic constituent of urban public circuitiy that also made cities 
and towns visually jnore apprehensible and vivid.- 

Increasingly, design concerns such as MacDonald's "archi- 
tecture of passage" have been converted into public art pro- 
jects. As this transformation has occurred, a great deal of ini- 
tiative has been stripped away from professions like architec- 
ture and engineering — and, ironically, trom art. 



62 



PLACES 9:2 




Bridging the Disciplines — Case Studies 

The stultifying stereotypes described earlier in this essay 
attempt to portray the approaches that are all too often the 
norm when constructing the built environment. Returning to 
the scenario of a bridge in the city, the following case studies 
reveal that the crossover activity between architecture, engi- 
neering and art has destabilized the role of all three. 

Wabasha Street Bridge, St. Paul, MN (1992) —James 
Carpenter, artist — The competition brief for the Wabasha 
Street Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River in St. Paul, 
required that the lead designer be an artist. The project was 
awarded to James Carpenter, whose work is characterized by 
the orchestration of glass and steel in tensile formations 
backed up by a familiarity with the processes of engineering 
and fabrication. 

Carpenter was able to expand (with the aid of consulting 
engineers) his previous experiments into a taut, six-lane high- 
way bridge and a thoughtful piece of urban design. The mis- 
alignment of the adjoining streets, the V-shaped mast and the 
location of the island were knitted together with precision and 
elegance. Here is a case of an artist clearly understanding the 
problem in all its particulars. 

Interestingly, the bridge competition excluded the partici- 
pation of bridge designers (Santiago Calatrava, the exception, 
was invited but dropped out). Clearly the expectation was that 
artists could produce designs that architects or engineers could 
not. There is no question that C>arpenter's proposal is sophisti- 
cated and worthy of the praise it has received. But it is not dis- 
tinguishable as art from the work of architects or engineers 
who are designing and installing similar projects, particularly 
in Europe. Carpenters bridge, in fact, is guided almost exclu- 




Wabasha Street Bridge, St. Paul. Artist's 
preferred proposal. Courtesy James 
Carpenter Design Associates/Macromedia 
Technologies Inc. Minnisota. 

sively by the standard mandate of all good engineering: "There 
is no structural art without an expression of thinness."' 

If the rationale of asking an artist to imagine a bridge was to 
see it expressed as a work of art, then one would have to con- 
clude that the experiment was a failure. Fortunately, Carpenter 
saw the folly in such a misrepresentation, opening acknowl- 
edging the mislabeling of the project as art by virtue of its 
inclusion in the 1993 Progressive Architecture annual awards 
issue. WTiat the Wabasha Street Bridge proposal illuminates is 
not a lack of versatility' among artists — far from it — but the 
mischaracterization of the design arts and the poorly con- 
structed questions we ask of them. 



PLACES 9:2 



63 




Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge, designed by Siah Armajani. Courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 



Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge, Minneapolis, MN, 1985-H — 
Siah Armajani, aitist — This pedestrian bridge, which hnks the 
Walker Art Center's sculpture garden to the surrounding 
urban landscape, demonstrates the difficulty of moving the 
ambiguity of a poetic vision into the bureaucratic world of 
construction, engineering and highway administration. 

While the project is a triumph over standard-issue state or 
federal bridges, it carries forward little of the provocative ven- 
tures into the nature of the type that the artist, Siah Armajani, 
explored in his small-scale models. Although the syntax of 
engineering is evident in the arch, suspension and girder 
motifs registered on the elevations, the bridge does not 
advance the art of bridge-making in any appreciable sense or 
demonstrate an awareness of the field. The span is significant 
only because it has been designated as art by virtue of who 
authored it. 

The Whitney Bridge is more akin to weak architecture 
because its programmatic imperative (pedestrian passage over a 
busy freeway) has overwhelmed the philosophical and technical 
questions of a bridge and reduced them to applied emblems. 
Armajani's earlier models of small, dysfunctional bridges "per- 
ceived in their somewhat self-contained uselessness as concep- 
tual art""^ are more profound, twisting the conventional into 
the sublime. They were of no use, by normative definition. 

Armajani implicitly confirms the difficulty ot actualizing 
complex ideas within the constraints of building projects. 
Having texts (such as Melville's Moby Dick) tattooed onto his 
later bridges, Armajani speaks volumes about the resistance of 
architecture as a vehicle for conveying ideas not indigenous to 
its own genetic structure. Such literal attempts to apply mean- 
ing to the built environment are to be expected as the one tra- 



verses the boundaries of art, architecture and engineering, a 
pitfall that Carpenter avoided by shifting into a mindset that 
was synchronous with the medium of the bridge. 

Alamillo Bridge, Seville, 1981-92 — Santiago Calatrava, arch- 
itect and engineer — The expressive engineering of Santiago 
Calatrava is so widely recognized both in style and contribution 
to the field that his work borders on becoming an art form unto 
itself. And with good reason; Calatrava has successfully brought 
the idea of gesture to the fabric of the cit\' and awakened public 
agencies to the aesthetic possibility of infrastructure. 

The Alamillo Bridge in Seville is but one of many examples 
of his consistently inventive approach to design. Calatrava 's 
bridges, towers and buildings shatter the stereotypical notion 
ot the engineer described earlier and have drawn attention to 
the many other creative thinkers in this field. 

But while expanding the definition of engineering practice, 
C^alatrava also seems to desire the mantle of artist, a notion that 
relies heavily on formal anecdote. The exliibition of Calatra\a's 
work at the iMuseum of Modern Art was clearl\- motivated b\' 
the conviction that his projects could, w ith a l)it ot squinting, 
be construed as sculpture, albeit sculpture that works. 

The words of the late sculptor Donald Judd, however bom- 
bastic, cast doubt on the possibility of such a facile transposition: 
A building as sculpture is a had idea to begin n'ith, but architects 
know very little about the recent histoiy of sculpture. The deviation is 
so ignorant that it would never occur in first-rate ait. Old forms 
that are considered finished by first-rate artists are revived by archi- 
tects as if there is no hi.<toiy, as if .sculpture has no n/eaiiing. '"^ 



64 



PLACES 9:2 



While Judd's criticism is riddled with inconsistency and am- 
biguity, he nevertheless illuminates the enormous difficulty of 
speaking with integrity to one concern through the language of 
another. Just as architecture is potentially diminished by the 
pale markings of sites by artists, so too is art marginalized as a 
sort of fetishizing activity practiced by those with an intuitive 
sense of form-making. 



/ 



The Essential Objective Public Realm 

We are an impatient lot. Conditioned by television and Disney 
World, we want and expect to be entertained. Consequently, 
we have lost both our ability to discriminate between fact and 
fiction and the patience to reinvest the city with thoughtful 
myth-making. We have begun to misconstrue the act of mak- 
ing infrastructure as an occasion for entertainment without 
understanding that infrastructure's expressive attributes are 
unlike those of art. 

City building is about the sequential layering of meaning, 
beginning with those that are deterministic, utilitarian and 
costly (infrastructure) and concluding with events that are 
spontaneous, topical, interactive and potentially outrageous 
(temporary public art or performance). Understanding the 
nature of each strata is essential if one is to respond in a man- 
ner that not only advances design but also demonstrates the 
mutually supportive forces among the layers of the city. 

Each discipUne must make contributions to the built envi- 
ronment that are coincident with the unique insights and criti- 
cal understandinginherent to the medium. With regard to the 
visual arts, the idea of boundary-setting is not universally 
applicable, but it appears a far more radical proposal than the 
concept of integrating artists into design teams, a process that 
virtually assures homogeneity rather than vigorous exchange. 

Infrastructure and urban architecture extend themselves 
into the larger dialogue of society quietly. The art of engineer- 
ing and architecture requires the nearly impossible synthesis of 
invention, convention and stability. There is no suggestion of 
banality in this proposition, but no art-making either. 
Infrastructure and urban architecture are a reflection of our 
desires as a society, but art transcends those wants, insisting 
that we examine their reflection and confront their meaning. 

For a product of architecture or engineering to encourage 
such speculation, it must assume the sort of naturalness that 
one normally associates with landscape. The perception of 
design as inevitable and economical translates into a demon- 
stration of fact. "If it is to redeem its culture — if it is to project 
an meaningful Utopia — it must be grounded in actuality'."'' 

The Brooklyn Bridge is not art. It is a magnificent instru- 
ment spanning the East River. Walker Evans' well-known pho- 



W 



A— ~ 





Puente de Merida (bridge over the 
Guadalquiver River). Merida, Spain. 
Sketches courtesy Calatrava Vails S.A. 
Photo © Paolo Rosselll. 



PLACES 9:2 



65 




SheddinMUn^HBps of tumolt. bui 
Over the cnamea Day waters Lib 



Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our 



ge of figures to be file 
fcvators drop us from ou 

ik of cinemas, panoramic sleii^ 

.multitudes bent toward some f 
Never disclosed, bu 
Foretold to other e 

And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced 
As though the sun took step of thee, yet left 
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride, — 
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee! 

Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft 

A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets. 

Titling there momentarily, shrill shirt ballooning, 

A jest falls from the speechless caravan. 

Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks, 
A rip-tooth of the sky's acetylene; 
All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn . . . 
Thy cables breathe the North AtJ 

And obscure as that heave~ ' 



Thy guerdon 



Accolate thou dost b^e%tow 



thou dost show. 




Vibrant reprieve and 



O harp and altar, of t 
(How could mere toil alSV^^I^lf f f^^trlngs!) 
Terrific threshold of ths^rophet's pledge, h 
Prayer of pariah, and tH^"^"-"'- "" 

Again the traffic lights s. 

Unfractioned idion, immanriitCsigh of St' 

Beading thy path — condense eternity: 

and we have seen night lifted in thine arms. 

Under they shadow by the pf^lf Visited; 
Only in darkness is they shadow clear. 

■" ■ "- ■- •-■- ■ II undone. 

Already snow submerges an iron year . . . 

O Sleepless as the river under thee. 
Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod. 
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend 
And the curveship lend a myth to God. 

Excerpted from Hart Crane, "The Bridge." First pub- 
lished by The Black Sun Press, 1930. 



tographs of the bridge encourage us to think of it as art; so too 
does Hart Crane's poetry. As Alan Trachtenberg writes. Crane's 
poetry "completed the passage of the Brooklyn Bridge from 
fact to symbol. Such a passage was implicit in the earliest ideas 
of an East River bridge, in Thomas Pope's conception as well 
as John Roebling's. He imagined an ideal function: a leap into a 
new consciousness."^ 

Both Crane and Evans were able to make art of the bridge 
because it was so confident of itself as a matter of engineering. 
As such, it was available as evidence of larger truths imbedded 
in its making. This is the art of infrastructure, the foundation 
for the assembly of meaning in the city. 

Redundancy or Relevancy? 

One of the mantras of the public art movement is that artists 
should be involved early in the development process. Artists 
may find a place at the conference table, but in taking that seat 
they tacitly agree to work in collaboration with fellow design- 
ers, thus reUnquishing the most fertile territory of the arts: crit- 
ical commentary. 

Artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most incisive thinkers 
on the subject of the built environment, both in his public art 
work and his lecturing, declares: "We must stop this ideological 
'ritual,' interrupt this journey-in-fiction, arrest the somnambu- 
listic movement, restore a public focus, a concentration on the 
building and its architecture."** 

Meeting this provocative challenge is nearly impossible with- 
in the straight jacket of typical public art processes. All too 
often, artists participating on collaborative teams end up manip- 
ulating a particular surface of a building. Ironically, this situa- 
tion is equivalent to the guild system, in which artisans pos- 
sessed of superior knowledge of a particular material were given 
the freedom to operate within a framework established by the 
architect. But public artists have expended considerable effort 
throwing off the workman-like label of "artisan," wanting to be 
seen as creative thinkers in their own right. They wil soon dis- 
cover that the permanent built environment is an awkward and 
resistant venue for critical work. 

For those engaged in exposing the latent conditions of the 
contcmpcjrary urban environment, an enterprise that only 
artists have the freedom to pursue with abandon, being impli- 
cated in the process of building is a debilitating prospect, even 
antithetical to the cause. Architecture is a particularly unwieldy 
\ehicle as an art form — it's turning radius is wide, its accelera- 
tion and hauling capacity virtually non-existent, .\rchitecuire is 
also particularly ill suiteti to delivering the messages ot other 
disciplines (literary theory, for example) without becoming a 
caricature. Theory masquerading as architecture is frequently 



^■r^MU^Jp,^,. r..~, 



grotesque and particularly unstable as a setting either for art or 
for citizens to conduct their lives. 

Yet architecture and infrastructure can be pregnant with 
meaning, as Crane and Evans revealed in their interpretations 
of the Brooklyn Bridge. To observe architecture as an artist 
and to offer the feedback that keeps it alive, one cannot be in 
the building looking out. Buildings need to be approached with 
great stealth and captured in the act of being themselves. Such 
is the case with Wodiczko's projections: 

What is implicit about the building must be exposed as explicit: the 
myth must be visually concretized and unmasked. The absentminded, 
hypnotic relation with ajxhitecture must be challenged by a conscious 
and aitical public discourse taking place in front of the building.^ 

Wodiczko's work is a muscular demonstration of the power 
of public art to open our eyes to the conditions that could only 
be demonstrated through this medium. While taking architec- 
ture to task, his work capitalizes on the foundation that the 
static components of the city provide, correctly proclaiming 
art's culminating position in the layers that make up our urban 
environment. 

Conclusion 

There are those that will read my constant references to the 
differences between art, architecture and engineering as yet 
another attempt to constrain artists from participating in shap- 
ing the public realm. Some will find my call to break out of the 
percent-for-art radius of traditional public art programs desir- 
able but, without another option in place, foolhardy. And oth- 
ers will object to my critique of collaborative design teams as 
well-intentioned interest groups focused on process but with- 
out a compelling vision of either the past or the future. 

Nevertheless, it would be difficult to dispute the fact that 
most public art, as it is conventionally defined, is of the same 
caliber as the bland corporate environment that it was intended 
to eclipse. Many of the best public pieces are still those that 
come from inventive artists intent on demonstrating expanded 
possibilities within their discipline, just as Roebling was 
attempting within engineering. Like the Brooklyn Bridge, 
accomplished works of art, engineering or architecture became 
public icons not by designation or committee, but by virtue of 
the population's reflected recognition of themselves as partici- 
pants in the construction of the public realm. 




(Above) Krzysztof Wodiczko, Hirschhorn Museum 
Building, 1988. Courtesy Galerie Leiong. 
(Opposite page) Brool<lyn Bridge, from pedestrian 
promenade. Courtesy Todd W. Bressi. 



Notes 

1. Herbert Muschamp, "When Art Becomes a Public Spectacle," New 
York Times (2 January 1994) Section 2, page 1. 

2. William MacDonald, The Architecture of the Roman Empire (New 
Haven: Yale, 1986). 

3 . David P. Billington, The Tower and the Biidge: The New Art of 
Structural Engineering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983). 

4. Janet Kardon, Siah Armajani: Bridges, Houses, Communal Spaces, 
Dictionary for Building (Philadelphia: Institute for Contemporan' Art, 
University of Pennsylvania, 1985). 

5. Donald Judd, "Two Cultures," Eotns 73. 

6. Alan Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge: Eact ami Symbol (Chicago and 
London: University of (Chicago Press, 1965), 170 

7. Trachtenberg, 167. 

8. Krzysztof Wodiczko, "Public Projection," Canadian Journal of Political 
and Social Theory/Revue canadienne de theorie politique at sociale 7:1-2 
(Winter/Spring 1983): 184-7. 

9. Wodiczko. 



PLACES 9:2 



67 



N E W 



R K 



roots: 





Look, Care, Act: 
Project Punchlist 



People who care about things going 
downhill want to see a turnaround. 
Anybody who's worked on this project 
certainly feels a little better about them- 
selves for having dealt with that, even if 
it hasn't been accomplished. They are 
acting in a way that involves their daily 
life and their environment. That's a very 
positive turnaround in a kind of grass- 
roots way that we've all been saying is 
missing. Project Punchlist speaks to the 
fact that people have been discouraged. 
— Sarelle Weisberg, Program Director, 
New York City Department of General 
Services; early project participant 



Francoise Bollack, Ethelind Coblin, 
Ines Elskop, Denise Hall, Margotjacqz 



Two years ago a group of women archi- 
tects, members of the American Institute 
of Architects New York City chapter, met 
to brainstorm about the state of our city. 
We sensed that certain aspects of the city's 
quahty of Ufe were deteriorating and that 
there was no systematic way of addressing 
them. The reasons were multiple: too 
many failed global plans, too much plan- 
ning from the top down, not enough fol- 
low through, too much emphasis on the 
distant future and not enough on the real- 
ities of the present. \Vliat could be done? 

Our answer was to conceive Project 
Punchlist — a method for helping petjple 
recognize, note and monitor conditions in 
the built environment. Project Punchlist 
is modeled on the construction "punch- 
list," the items that must be completed or 
corrected for a construction project to be 
considered finished. In this case, resi- 
dents, community leaders and political 
representatives make a block-by-block 
assessment of physical conditions and 
direct problems to the appropriate parties. 

Project Punchlist is meant to be a 
comprehensive and systematic tool for 
collaborative community action and 
power. It enables community members, 
government agencies and elected officials 
to look, care and act — with the ultimate 
goal ot improving the deteriorating quali- 
ty of life in our neighborhoods. WTiile we 
have been working with Project Punchlist 
in New York C]it\' neighborhoods, it could 
be applied in almost any community. 



The premises of Project Punchlist are 
simple: First, we cannot allow ourselves to 
become accustomed to the deterioration 
of our environment — as we inevitably do 
— because our environment influences us. 
The space of the city is, after all, where 
public and political discourse takes place, 
and it constantly returns to us informa- 
tion about ourselves, our expectations and 
our political systems. To paraphrase Leon 
Krier, the place (the city) becomes the 
point where individuals identify them- 
selves as citizens fully responsible from a 
cultural and ptjlitical standpoint. 

Second, the public participation pro- 
cess must be made objective and tangible. 
In New York City, community boards 
play an important role but most people 
(including architects) are unaware com- 
munity boards exist until they get 
involved in a hoth' debated land-use or 
planning issue, such as the location of 
community-based services. 

Finally, and maybe most important, 
residents must see their neighborhood in 
a truly comprehensive way it they wish to 
shape its future. An architect's perception 
and participation can help them do this. 
Architects deal with the built en\ iron- 
ment ever\' da\' and are accustomed to 
observing its \ital signs. Project Punchlist 
hel])s people interpret these signs by ask- 
ing them to consider the connection 
between the physical characteristics of 
the environment and the more intangible 
relationships of urban life. 



How Project Punchlist Works 

We organized Project Punchlist 
around three general components of 
the public realm — streets and side- 
walks, open spaces, and building 
facades. For each category, we devised 
a punchlist form on which conditions 
can be noted. Within each category we 
suggested a list of common physical 
problems, such as cracked sidewalks, 
damaged hydrants, missing curb cuts, 
potholes, garbage, graffiti, crumbling 
facades and the like. Finally, we created 
a supplemental glossary of common 
terms, which helps participants define 
problems for consideration, and a 
directory that informs them of the pro- 
cedures for reporting problems and the 
responsibility of public agencies or 
individuals to address them. 

The work in each neighborhood 
begins with an orientation session, dur- 
ing which we familiarize volunteers 
with the objectives and procedures of 
the project. We hand out a field manu- 
al, show slides of common conditions, 
designate routes volunteers will follow 
during their inspections and sign up 
teams of participants. 

The field work consists of a walk 
through the neighborhood. Teams 
convene at a designated field location 
and review their routes for the day. As 
they walk along their routes, partici- 
pants document the conditions they 
find, noting the exact location and time 
of day. At the end of the walk-through, 
the forms are collected and presented 
to the community board staff. 

Implementation is the most crucial 
and often the most difficult phase. The 
information collected during the walk- 
through has to be processed. Ideally, 
this is done through the community 
board, whose staff generates complaint 
forms and directs them to the public 
agencies or individuals responsible for 
correcting each problem. 



Pilot Programs 

We began Project 
Punchlist with three pilot 
programs in Manhattan. We 
determined early on that the local 
community boards should be our start 
ing point, the hub for this collabora- 
tive effort. New York's community 
boards, each of which serves a neigh- 
borhood of 100,000 people or more, 
are composed of volunteer members 
appointed by the borough president. 
Each has a paid staff under the direc- 
tion of a district manager. The boards 
are a liaison between the community, 
public agencies and elected or 
appointed officials; as such, they are 
the first of many links in the political 
hierarchy of city government. 

The community boards that were 
most responsive to our project were 
from the Lower East Side (CB3), the 
Upper West Side (CB7) and West 
Harlem (CB9). The district managers 
put us in contact with active 
neighborhood organizations 
— block associations, 
youth groups. 




Project Punchlist 
offers neighbor- 
hoods a vehicle for 
documenting phys- 
ical problems like 
damaged street 
poles, crumbling 
curbs, pavement or 
sidewalks, and 
poorly maintained 
or vacant build- 
ings. Photos cour- 
tesy authors. 



church groups — and 
individuals. Where 
there was an interest, 
we made a presentation. 
Where we found some level 
of response and commitment, 
we chose a site for a pilot project. 

Commitment and interest were the 
determining factors. We wanted partic- 
ipants who were eager to look at their 
environment in a fresh way, ready to 
care about their neighborhood and pre- 
pared to act to improve its condition. 
The three pilot programs yielded 
mixed results. From the standpoint of 
understanding the workings of neigh- 
borhoods and their physical, social and 
political infrastructure, they 
were extraordinary. 
From the stand- 
point of 




Community group attitudes on the 

Lower East Side have resulted from a 

long-term, antagonistic relationship 

with any number of public agencies, 

whatever their specific problems are. 

Their experience has been counter to 

anything we can tell them and I can't 

see any theoretical way of convincing 

them to act otherwise. That resistance 

needs to be overcome and the only way 

is to develop an example of community 

involvement that works. 

— Jerry Maltz, early project participant 




iiiir IJU1H.11113 1 targets problciu^ 
that indicate a lack of public con- 
trol or pose safety hazards. 



solving problems, they were a relative 
disappointment. We realized that the 
strengths and weaknesses of a neigh- 
borhood are directly related to the 
nature of volunteerism and personal 
commitment, the effectiveness of com- 
munity board representation, the visi- 
bility of public agencies and the sincer- 
ity of local politicians. 

The processing of our punchlist 
documentation would be handled dif- 
ferently in each district, in part because 
of each community's sensitivity to par- 
ticular problems. Also, we discovered 
early on that our punchlist format 
could interface easily with a citywide 
computerized complaint tracking sys- 
tem, into which community boards log 
problems for which pubHc agencies are 
responsible. Unfortunately, we found 
out, only one of our test community 
boards had the system up and running. 

In the Lower East Side, we found a 
community divided among special 
interest groups that often were 
opposed to each other and felt alienat- 
ed from city government. To them. 
Project Punchlist was not a tool for 
empowering the community but 
another form of policing. Cooperation 
was minimal and turnout at our pre- 
sentations somewhat slim. We did pro- 
ceed with our walk-through, however, 
with a handful of committed residents, 
including several members of a recent- 
ly forming block association and the 
founder of a community garden. 

The district manager very selective- 
ly collated our documentation. Because 
C]B3 lacked the computerized com- 
plaint tracking system, problems were 
sent directly to commissioners of the 
relevant public agencies. While the 
approach was limited in scope, results 
were immediate, with problems reme- 
died in a timely fashion — catch basins 
unclogged, potholes filled. Facade and 
sidewalk issues directly affecting pri- 
vate landlords were not addressed. 



In West Harlem, we found a com- 
munity overwhelmed by social issues 
— housing, crime, drugs — but with 
strong group affdiations and a history 
of activism. Enthusiasm was high and 
so was the turnout. Two walk-throughs 
were scheduled. Everyone seemed to 
know exactly which trees, pay phones, 
garbage piles, loose cobblestones and 
broken parking meters were being used 
as points of drug activity. Residents saw 
Project Punchlist as a positive and effi- 
cient tool, a way for individuals to take 
back the streets and assume some mea- 
sure of control over the physical break- 
down reflected in their environment. 

Unfortunately, changes of person- 
nel were made in the community board 
and its staff just prior to the fieldwork. 
Official interest waned, and the com- 
pleted punchlist forms remain unpro- 
cessed. The local residents themselves 
remain committed and Project 
Punchlist is now seeking a sponsor at 
the city council level. 

On the Upper West Side, we found 
a diverse, well-organized community 
backed by a strong communit}' board 
office and staff. The pilot program 
generated hundreds of complaints, 
which were processed through the 
complaint tracking system and sent to 
the appropriate public agencies. 
Anything felt to be locally sensitive was 
filtered out to be addressed initially at 
the board level. Some remedial action 
has been reported, but no communit}- 
based network has been set up to verif}- 
or follow up on the complaints or to 
verify the results. 

A Full-scale Walk-Through 

Enthusiasm, structure and commitment 
are key aspects of any collaboration but 
difficult to sustain in small-scale efforts 
dependent on a handful ot individuals. 
Our three pilot programs were charac- 
terized by liittering degrees ot each ele- 



70 



PLACES 9:2 



/ viewed this as an organizing project to 
try to reinstill in people a sense that 
they have control over something. For a 
long time, we had been trying to figure 
out how to do that, and how to keep 
campaign techniques — coffee 
klatsching and meeting with groups of 
people and talking about things — dur- 
ing our tenure in office. ... Project 
Punchlist can be a tool for the next 
budget. What is a better assessment for 
capital needs than this? It could also 
help us identify legislative priorities, by 
looking at things that come up a lot, 
like corner newspaper boxes. 
— New York City Council Member 
Ronnie Eld ridge 



ijlii': 



•f.^'-' w 




New York City Council Member Ronnie Eldridge (right) provided 
political and staff support necessary for launching Project 
Punchlist on Manhattan's Upper West Side. 



ment. Discussing Project Punchlist 
with CB7 district manager, Penny 
Ryan, we concluded it could take hold 
in the community only if it had greater 
scope and could reach more residents. 
To that end, she put us in contact with 
City Council member Ronnie Eldridge, 
and what resulted was the first large- 
scale community based effort. 

The sponsorship of a council mem- 
ber was the political element missing 
from our previous collaborations. 
Eldridge gave us the ability to mobilize 
a large constituent base and access to 
staff (both paid and volunteer), media 
and city government. The structure of 
a political campaign, with its system of 
tapping into local leaders who share 
responsibility for canvassing areas and 
disseminating information, was an 
ideal model for organizing participants. 

In response to a mailing of 70,000 
households, more than 200 people 
attended a preliminary presentation. 
The sites covered in our pilot pro- 
grams had been roughly five- by five- 
block areas; this group would cover an 
entire council district, covering some 
200 blocks between 56th and 96th 
streets and Central Park West and 
Riverside Drive. Participants attended 
several orientation sessions, and on the 
designated Saturday almost 300 peo- 
ple, in sensible shoes and with clip- 



boards in hand, took part in the 
walk-through. 

The large-scale walk-through yield- 
ed a large number of complaints, and 
team captains delivered the documen- 
tation to CB7 staff at a lively open 
house. Some team captains have since 
recruited participants to help with the 
computerized data entry, and efforts 
are being made to enlist students from 
a local high school computer class. The 
community board staff is active, public 
agencies have been alerted to the 
onslaught of complaints coming their 
way and residents are poised for the 
follow-up. Now it is a question of time 
and commitment. 

What Have We Learned? 

Our first goal in creating Project 
Punchlist was to have people look at 
the city, their environment, and do 
something about it. Looking would 
rekindle enthusiasm for buildings, 
whether unique or mundane, for the 
streetscapes, for a particular row of 
trees, for a park, for the city itself We 
knew that people would be shocked 
and galvanized into action. People 
would look and they would care. 

Our second goal was to present 
communities with a simple methodolo- 
gy for action, one that they could very 



quickly make their own. The simplicity 
of the punchlist format, the item by 
item reporting method, the division of 
the urban environment into the simple 
categories of "Streets and Sidewalks," 
"Building Facades" and "Open Spaces" 
would provide an understandable 
framework that could be used by any- 
one. People would act. 

Our third goal was to make an 
impact on the urban environment by 
getting a large number of problems 
corrected at one time. We envisioned 
that the efficiency inherent in report- 
ing groups of complaints — say 25 pot- 
holes at one time versus 25 potholes 
one by one — would result in better 
service delivered faster and more equi- 
tably (not just to the "squeak}' wheel") 
by public agencies. 

We discovered that there is indeed a 
a lack of connection between cit\' gov- 
ernment — this big, amorphous set of 
agencies whose precise responsibilities 
few of us understand — and the people. 
Every time we presented the project we 
met with enthusiasm and a quick grasp 
of its intentions and of what it could 
accomplish. WTiere all the ingredients 
were in place — an active commimity, 
strong political support and an orga- 
nized community board with an effec- 
tive district manager (as, for example, 
the Upper West Side) people mobilized 



PLACES 9:2 



71 



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Above: A punchlist team com- 
paring notes in Riverside Park 
on the Upper West Side. 
Right: Samples of standard 
forms for recording problems. 



After all this information comes back 
from a walk through, yes, complaints 
get put into the computer at the com- 
munity board. But there's a second half 
to it. We are expanding the pool of 
people who are keyed in to what's 
wrong with their block, who under- 
stand how the government works and 
how to use it. 

— Chris Quinn, Chief of Staff to New 
York City Council Member Tom Duane 









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railings, garbage, windows, ledges, fire escapes, 
decorative elements, signage, security . 

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General Comments 

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72 



PLACES 9:2 



We want to know about problems. The 
more the merrier We as an agency 
depend on the public to report com- 
plaints. If they don't know they can 
complain or who they can complain to 
we don't know what to fix. 
— Betty Holloway, New York City De- 
partment of Environmental Protection 



in numbers, they looked and they did 
something about what they found. 

Our second goal has proven more 
elusive. The punchlist format is under- 
stood by everybody, but a number of 
issues have arisen. Some groups want 
to customize the forms to collect data 
according to different agenda — one 
group wanted us to survey the types of 
ground floor businesses in a particular 
area, another wanted us to record 
instances of prostitution. We find we 
must remain involved to keep the focus 
on the built environment and to keep 
the method of collecting information 
consistent enough that the project does 
not disintegrate into a number of unre- 
lated fragments. 

As to our third goal of having a 
noticeable impact, it is too early to tell 
how Project Punchlist fares. CB7 has 
just finished entering the large number 
of complaints generated by the 
walk-through and has forwarded half 
to public agencies. One area captain 
reports that accessibility curb cuts were 
made in her area recently, but this may 
or may not be due to our effort. We 
are all watching. 

We have made some unexpected 
discoveries. While we all expect public 
agencies to serve us, we forget that we 
have our own part to play in the main- 
tenance of the environment. 
Homeowners who count on the parks 
departinent to prune their street trees, 
for example, do not want to be remind- 
ed that they have to repair their cor- 
nice or redo their sidewalk if condi- 
tions become hazardous. 




Punchlist teams document the condition of buildings thai 
face — and have a visual impact on — public spaces. 



In one neighborhood, brownstone 
owners said they felt beleaguered be- 
cause the copper down spouts on their 
buildings are frequently stolen, but they 
do not have money to put up new ones. 
Nor do they have money to fix cracked 
sidewalks. They did not want either 
item appearing on a punchlist, and for a 
moment it seemed that Project Punch- 
list would be so limited in that area that 
it was doomed. The head of the neigh- 
borhood association reminded the 
homeowners that there was strength in 
numbers, and someone else suggested 
starting a fund to help with certain 
repairs, something like a Business 
Improvement District. In the end par- 
ticipants realized that this group effort 
could actually help them deal with, and 
perhaps solve, individual problems. 

Another interesting discovery was 
that Project Punchlist provides officials 
at all levels of city government with a 
tool for assessment of budget needs 



and a framework for realistic dialogue. 
The project has been readily embraced 
by public agencies and elected and 
appointed officials. 

Project Punchlist is exploring the 
role of the architect in service to the 
community. It is our responsibility to 
engage with communities as inter- 
preters of advocates for the built envi- 
ronment. Project Punchlist provides a 
vehicle for us to contribute our profes- 
sional expertise and knowledge in the 
community's interest. 

Residents must remember both 
their rights and obligations in a demo- 
cratic society. Politicians must believe 
that community service can be self-ser- 
vice. Public agencies must decide to 
institutionalize caring, not neglect. 
Architects must remember that they 
are citizens, too, catalysts fi>r action 
and education, creators and guardians 
of the built landscape. 



PLACES 9 



73 




Art and 
the Transit 
Experience 

Cynthia Abramson 

As more and more cities build or modify their tran- 
sit systems, interest has grown in art-in-transit pro- 
grams, which generally commission works of art for 
or engage artists in the design of transit systems. 
Supporters of these programs believe that they can 
"integrate creative values into such places ... where 
thousands of people circulate and encounter each 
other every day" — thereby improving these envi- 
ronments for users and enticing riders back to pub- 
lic transportation.' 

Transit art projects have been both decorative 
and functional. While they can contribute to the 
cultural life and profile of a city, they also can help 
shape the experience people have of using a transit 
system as they move through a city. 

The art projects featured here respond to the 
special nature of traveling through a city on public 
transit. They celebrate acts of arriving and depart- 
ing, times when we move not only between differ- 
ent places but also different states of mind. They 
mediate between local communities and the region 
to which the transit system connects them, helping 
passengers understand their place within the region 
and revealing and strengthening the identity of 
local communities. And they increase passengers' 
feelings of safety, comfort and orientation in sys- 
tems that are often unfamihar and disorienting. 



Additional research by Todd W. Bressi, Ha nan A. Kivett 
and Jill Slater. 




(Above) Jean-Paul Laenen's photomural in Brussels' 
Aumale Station recalls the neighborhood that was 
demolished when the subway was built. 

(Center) Hector Guimard's canopy for the Abbesses 
Station, Paris. Photo by Cynthia Abramson. 

(Right) London's Charring Cross Road Station, with 
Richard Dragun's reproductions of paintings from the 
National Gallery and Portrait Gallery, which the sta- 
tion serves. Photo by Cynthia Abramson. 



Placemaking 

Lancliiiarks and gateways can help create a sense of place in a 
city, both tor resiilents and visitors. The ahilit\' of transit sta- 
tions to function as both is illustrated by the art nouveau glass 
and wrought ironentrances French architect Hector Ciuimard 
created for more than 200 Paris Metro entrances between 1900 
and 1913. Their stylish design dignifies and elevates the act of 
traveUng by Metro. Guimard's shelters have become synony- 
mous with the Metro and with the cit)- of Paris itself and ser\e 
as local landmarks in the neighborhoods w here they still stand. 

Contemporary artists have created thematic art\vorks ami 
designed system elements that help establish connections 



74 



PLACES 9:2 




between municipal transit systems and the communities they 
serve. Often, these projects make reference to a site, landmark, 
historic person or event that is meaningftil to an area served by 
a transit stop, or they evoke the character of a nearby district. 

Metrorama '7^, Jean-Paul Laenen's dramatic photomural in 
Brussels' Aumale Station, recorded both the destruction of the 
Anderlicht neighborhood and the life that had existed there for 
more than half a century before metro construction began. 
The mural literally envelopes riders, wrapping around the 
upper section of the station walls. 

Richard Dragun's vitreous enamelled steel mural in Lon- 
don's Underground marks the place of the Charring Cross 



station by creating a continuum of visual images — from the 
National Galleries above to the station below — and by 
reminding passengers of nearby landmarks in the city. 

Recent projects also follow this strategy. In Los Angeles, 
Francisco Letelier's murals in the Westlake/MacArthur Park 
station celebrate the culture of the Latino neighborhood 
above; sculpture in the Aviation and El Segundo stations evoke 
the dynamism of the aerospace and defense industries nearby. 

Other projects celebrate transit environments as places of 
their own. Jack Mackie's array of green and orange utility poles 
in a bus staging area next to Seattle's Convention Place Station 
lend a sense of theatricality to this otherwise workaday space. 



PLACES 9:2 



75 




(Top; 3i9\/dru oiibon's designs for Stockholm's 
Radhuset station play on the sense of being in a 
place that has been excavated. 

(Above) Gunnar Larson's "Transformation in the 
Sky"in Stockholm's Farsta Centrum station. 

Photos by Cynthia Abramson. 




■^1 




Reflective phrases carved into the risers 
of the Douglas/Rosencrans station 
stairway on Los Angeles' Green Line. 
Courtesy Los Angeles County MTA. 



Humanizing the iVIetro Environment 

In most cities, the transit system is used by more people than 
any single building. Yet concerns for passenger comfort seem 
to have been ignored in the design of transit environments, 
particularly in older systems. This is especially true for under- 
ground lines, where sometimes only minimal lighting and ven- 
tilation are provided. Wliile some argue that transit environ- 
ments are experienced less deliberately than other architectural 
spaces,- one could also argue that transit environments are 
experienced more intensively than most other places, and pas- 
senger comfort therefore demands extraordinary consideration. 

The Stockholm Metro provides some of the best examples 
of how art has been be used to humanize transit environments, 
to make them more comfortable and interesting for passen- 
gers. There, desginers have endeavored to introduce light and 
color into the underground in order to counteract the effect of 
Scandinavian winters on passengers. 

Gunnar Larson's "Transformation in the Sky," at the Farsta 
Centrum station, seeks to create a warm and summery anno- 
sphere in what is basically a cold and windy place where pas- 
sengers both buy tickets and wait for trains. Ulrik Samuelson's 



Kungstradgarden station recreates the gardens above — fea- 
tured are waterfalls with lichens and moss growing on the 
walls, cast architectural features, statuar\' and sculptures from 
different times and a variet)- of buildings, terrazzo floors and 
Venetian water vases. 

The designers of the Santa MonicaA'iermont station on Los 
Angeles' Red Line realized that Angelenos, with liule tradition 
of using underground spaces and a long tradition ot earth- 
quakes, might be fearful of using that cit}''s new subway. 1 heir 
design for the station entrance includes skylights that allow 
natural light to reach the station platforms. 

At the Douglas/Rosencrans Station, artist Renee Petropou- 
1(}S notes that people passing through are marking an important 
transition in their day — mo\ing from work to home or \ice 
versa. Words set in the risers of the station stairway echo the 
thoughts that might be going through a passenger's mind. 

Vicki Scuri's Seattle bus tunnel counters the disorientation 
and discomfort travelers often feel in dark, claustrophobic tim- 
nels. Bright lighting and vivid graphics help riders see their 
place in the tunnel and orient themselves to the streets above. 



76 



PLACES 9:2 




(Above) Francisco Letelier's mural. El Sol, describes the 
Latino community living near the Westlake/WlacArthur Park 
Station on Los Angeles' Red Line. Courtesy Hanan A. Kivett. 

(Right) Paragraph short stories posted at Seattle's bus stops 
make waiting a bit more pleasant. Courtesy Seattle Metro. 

Safety, Wayfinding, Circulation and Orientation 

The connections between different transportation lines or 
modes present particular challenges for passengers and design- 
ers. They are places where people might find themselves 
momentarily disoriented or where people moving in different 
directions conflict. Transit artists also have addressed these 
problems of circulation and wayfinding. 

New York City's subway is reknowned for the has reliefs that 
adorn its earliest stations and helped identify them to non-Eng- 
lish-speaking immigrants — among them are a sailing ship for 
Columbus Circle and a steam paddlewheeler for Fulton Street. 

Nicholas Munro's ceramic murals depicting mazes and the 
game "Snakes and Ladders" for London's Oxford Circus sta- 
tion were controversial because they parodied the labrynthine 
passages, corridors, escalators and staircases that characterize 
many Underground stations. Some critics argued that Munro 
succeeded only in reinforcing the chaos and complexity of the 
subway environment. 

Ake Pallarp and Enno Hallek adopted a more direct 
approach to solving the problem of wayfinding at the 
Stockholm Metro's Stadion station. Using rainbow-colored 
wooden arrows and pointing fingers, they created lively sig- 
nage to direct passengers to the College of Music and Stadium. 

Gates can serve important functions in metro stations as 
well, directing passengers towards a particular station entrance 
or exit and preventing people from crossing the tracks. But 
they also can be one of the most unwelcoming elements of the 
transit environment. 

Fhe gates in the Stockholm subway, however, include the 
ornamental ironwork of Britt-Louise Sundell's gate at the 




Modern 

Odysseys: 

Heroic 

Journeys 

We Make 

Everyday 



The moment was frozen in time, like a 
photograph. They v/atched each other. 
Eventually he broke the sifence. "I'll come and 
see you," he said. "Fine," she replied. "I'll 
walk," he continued. "No," she said, "I live two 
hundred miles away. You'll have to come by 
car or bus or train." He waited briefly. Then he 
said, "Everywhere is walking distance, if you 
have the time." 



Call the Voice Box 



5482787 

Brought to you by Metro's Artists' Regional Transit Project. 



"Snakes and Ladders," a mural by 
Nicholas Munro in the London Under- 
ground's Oxford Circus station, com- 
ments on the complexity of the station 
layout. Photo by Cynthia Abramson. 








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Above: "Domino," Wrought iron security gate on 
platform of IVIariatorget Station, Stocl<holm. 
Design by Britt-Louise Sundell. Photo by Cynthia 
Abramson. 




Painted wood safety fencing positioned to keep 
people from crossing tracks at Hallonbergen 
Station, Stockholm. Design by Elis Eriksson and 
Gosta Wallmark, with input from local children. 
Photo by Cynthia Abramson. 



Mariatorget station, Sivert Lindblom's sculpted iron platform 
dividers at Vastra Skogen which serve to separate waiting areas 
for inbound and outbound trains, and the child-like drawings 
and scribblings of cartoonist Elis F,riksson and Gosta Wallmark 
on the white wooden fences in the track arches at the 
Hallonbergen station. 

Subway Poster Art Programs 

The London Underground is famous for its subway posters. 
The earliest posters, dating back to the early 1900s, were 
selected by Frank Pick, publicity director of the London 
Passenger Transport Board. They depict a myriad of desirable 
destinations that could be reached by "tube." Their emphasis 
on the connection between public transport and leisure travel 
developed as a response to dwindling ridership caused by the 
growth in popularity of the private car. 

The most well-known poster artist was Edward Johnston 
who, in 1916, created the non-serif lettering and logo design 
which revolutionized the field of topography. Other notewor- 
thy artists used cubist and abstract idioms to idealize the his- 
toric events of the time, stir the patriotism of the British citi- 
zenry and expose the public to modern art. 

The current poster art program is funded out of London 
Regional Transport's marketing budget. These funds cover both 
the design and production of the artwork and artist fees. 
Between 300 and 400 posters are displayed at a time, depending 
upon the amount of existing unsold advertising space, through- 
out the Underground. They stay up for six to eight months, and 
are produced in runs of 6,000. The original paintings from 
which the posters are made become the property of the London 
Underground and are added to their fine art collection. 

The use of fine art posters on station platforms has been 
adopted by other cities, most recently New York. The 
Metropolitan Transit Authority's (Ml A) poster art program 
began in 1990, also with the goal of encouraging recreational 
use of public transportation antl to celebrate the neighbor- 
hoods of New York C^ity. Four artists are commissioned every' 
year and charged with creating a vision of a particular neigh- 
borhood. Recent posters have depicted the New York Harbor, 
Brooklyn's Fulton Mall, the farmer's market at Union Square 
and various cultural institutions. Fhe original artworks, which 
range from oil paintings to collage, are added to the MTA's fine 
art collection. 



78 



PLACES 9:2 



THEPORTO^i 
LONDON ./^ 




STEAMER CRUISES 
ROYAL DOCKS 

WEDNESDAYS IHUdSOAYS AND SATURDAYS 

from TOWER PIER 2. 30 p.m. 

Near Mark Lane rmWIW Station 

Return fare J'o Chddreo Hjtf fnct 

Reduced rates for parties Lunches and teas on board 

BOOK IN ADVANCE 




Posters are hung for approximately three months at a 
time, and printed in runs of three to four thousand. Like in 
London's Tube, they are displayed in the unused advertising 
panels throughout the system's 469 stations. The posters, 
which enjoy tremendous popularity, are funded out of the 
MTA's marketing budget, with the Arts-in-Transit program 
paying all artist commissions and fees. Like London's poster 
art program, the New York MTA's posters function as both 
aesthetic enhancement and public relations tool. 

Notes 

1 . Pol Mara, L'Att Dam le Metro, (Brussels: Societe Transport 
Intercommunaux Brusselois, 1981), 201. 

2. "Metro and Architecture: Buildings and Public Transport," Revue of 
the Inteniational Union of Public Trnnspoit 36:4 (January 1988): 276. 



(Top) "The Port of London Steamer 
Cruises," Esme Roberts (1934); "New 
York Harbor." Richard Bosman (1993). 

(Lower row, from left) "Sir John 
Soane's Museum," Dan Fern (1987); 
"Downtown Brooklyn/Fulton Mall," 
Loren Munk (1992); "El Museo del 
Barrio," Marina Gutierrez (1992); 
"Chinatown by Underground," John 
Bellany (1988). 

London posters courtesy London 
Transport Museum. 
New York posters © Metropolitan 
Transportation Authority. 



Sii-;-:'::- " ^.-ane's Museum 






Chinatown * 

by Underground ^ 




PLACES 9:2 



79 




BOSTON 



Creating a Sense of 
Purpose: Public Art and 
Boston's Orange Line 



Myma Margulies Breitbart, Pamela Warden 



A longer version of this article will 
appear as a chapter in the forthcoming 
collection edited by Donna Graves and 
entitled Shared Spaces: Interdisci- 
plinary Approaches to Public Art 
and Public Space Design. 



Top left: Artist Susan Thompson pre- 
sents a proposal to the Roxbury 
Crossing Station site committee and 
arts panel. Photo by Pamela Worden. 

Top right: Thompson's "Neighbor- 
hood" banners installed at Roxbury 
Crossing. Photo by George Vasquez. 

Center: Poet Sharon Cox and her po- 
em, "Drum," engraved on a pedestal 
at the Massachusetts Avenue 
Station. Photo by George Vasquez. 

Bottom: Resident Roland Peters with 
his portrait and oral history, collect- 
ed as part of the Orange Line arts 
program. Photo by Pamela Worden. 

Background: Orange Line elevated 
before demolition and made as part 
of the Orange Line arts program. 
Photo by Lou Jones. 

Photos courtesy UrbanArts. 



During the 1980s, throughout the U.S., pubhc art policy and funding 
focused on the big names and singular visions of a handful of artists. 
Their products, even when performed or installed in publicly accessible 
places, were often conceived and realized in isolation from the users of 
those places. Public reaction, as often as not, was one of disinterest, dis- 
may, even rage.' 

In Boston, during this same period, a very different kind of public art 
engendered very different reactions. Aj-ts in Transit: The Southwest Corridor 
officially began in 1984. But its true beginnings go back to the sixties, 
when work crews began to slash their way through the heart of many of 
Boston's oldest neighborhoods to make way for an extension of a major 
highway. Interstate 95. As the inexorable destruction continued, outraged 
citizens took to the streets. 

In 1970, in the midst of a recession that might have been eased by the 
many jobs provided by the project, Governor Francis W. Sargent declared 
a moratorium on the planned highway construction. In 1975, Sargent's 
successor. Governor Michael S. Dukakis, responded to the continued 
protests of citizens, and, for the first time in U.S. history, abandoned a 
major highway project in favor of alternate uses. 

These uses would include relocating one of the city's four major subway 
lines (the Orange Line), constructing new commuter rail and Amtrak 
lines, creating a park that would provide critically needed open space and 
natural and recreational resources for communities located along the 4.7- 
mile length of the project (the Southwest Corridor) and a comprehensive 
public art initiative. 



80 



PLACES 9:2 





r 




f^t^ ' ■;-'3??<'^gg 






Fm a frustrated chef. I used to be a 
chef on the railroad. I like to cook for 
large panics of people... This is what 
my children want to see me do now, 
my grandchildren, is to flip the pota- 
toes. Because I ca?i take a whole pan 
of hash browti potatoes and flip them 
up in the air, and bam! And just 
catch them. No, they're going to be 
there. They just sit and wait. 




Let your head be your drum 
Let your heart be the strings 
Ajidyour whole body the winds 
Listen to the music of your mind 
Find serenity in the total sound 
Make no room for the fuelodies of 
those who never could cany a tune 
Or hear the sounds of love 
Hope to have the ivords of your hean 
turn your song to gold 
And the jnusic the music 
of a world at peace. 






Dan George's 
"Transcendental Greens" 
transforms the Forest Hills 
subway station into a for- 
est of abstracted trees, 
responding to the site 
committee's wish for an 
artistic representation of 
the natural environment 
surrounding the station. 
Photo by George Vasquez. 



The project directly affected more than one quarter of 
Boston's population, including the ethnically diverse neighbor- 
hoods of Chinatown, South Cove, South End, Back Bay, 
Fenway, Mission Hill, Fort Hill, Roxhur\' and Jamaica Plain. 
Economic hardship and racial tension in many of these neigh- 
borhoods had been aggravated by the lengthy and disruptive 
process of this enormous construction project. Even after the 
highway was abandoned, citizens' fears of land speculation, 
displacement and negative economic impact motivated many 
to actively monitor critical land use, urban, park and station 
design decisions. 

Public art came on late in the design process, after con- 
struction was already underway.- When UrbanArts, a small 
non-profit agency, came on board to administer Aits in Tniiisit, 
community expectations were high while the transit agency's 
tolerance for additional community input was low. The 
Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) was eager for 
a quick and easy fix to the community's latest demand, this 
time for public art. If there were to be art, its role would be to 
enhance the beauty of its stations, reduce vandalism and help 
erase memories of the past mistakes of urban renewal. Art 
might also revive images of a more prosperous past and gener- 
ally improve the MBTA's public image. 

Southwest Corridor residents wanted the permanent instal- 
lations to help create a sense of place within each neighbor- 
hood. They also hoped to incorporate citizen participation and 
public education into the art program so that public art could 
help achieve the goal of reducing tensions that had long exist- 
ed in many Southwest Corridor communities, tensions that 
often were the result of racism and the negative impacts of 
economic restructuring. 

UrbanArts developed a multidisciplinary program. 
Working with community representatives, the agency lobbied 
the MBTA to expand community involvement in tbe selection 
process for permanent works and public art in each of the new 
transit stations, hi an ettort to further community' jiarticipa- 



tion, UrbanArts also invited artists and neighborhood groups 
to develop ideas for temporary and off-site art projects. 

The permanent art program, based on established federal 
guidelines, called for a professional arts panel to select artists 
to be commissioned to create work for the new stations. 
UrbanArts expanded this process to include a standing 10- 
member site committee of community representatives who 
served as the client for each station's art program, often meet- 
ing for several months to develop a communit)' profile and 
give direction. 

Professional arts selection panels, chosen for demographic 
representation and their ability to offer professional perspec- 
tive and expertise, worked with information provided by the 
community to site committees to select artists to develop pro- 
posals. When artists finally presented their proposals at a joint 
meeting of the site committee and arts panel, there was tj'pi- 
cally a high level of consensus regarding the most appropriate 
artwork for each site. 

The final artworks reflected Southwest Corridor communi- 
ties in a variety of ways. Some, like Susan Thompson's ban- 
ners, "Neighborhood," represented a specific communit}' 's his- 
tory in a traditional, literal, narrative way. Others, like Dan 
Cieorge's "Transcendental Greens" and John Scott's "Stony 
Brook Dance," expressed material relevant to the communit)' 
in relativeh' abstract ways. 

Concurrent with the selection process, Urbai'LArts request- 
ed and received proposals from artists and communit}- agencies 
for a series of temporary' and oft-site projects. Funding for the 
implementation of these projects initially came from the pri- 
vate sector. 

The first of these, a photography project called " Fhe 
Artist's Lens: A Focus on Relocation," documented the 
changes taking place as the old elevated Orange Line along 
Washington Street gave way to the newer transit s}stem along 
the Southwest Corridor, some distance awa\. Professional pho- 
tographers, paired with high school stutlcnts trom tiic Hubert 



82 



PLACES 9:2 



H. Humphrey Occupational Resource Center in Roxbury, 
formed teams that worked together for more than a year to 
capture the architecture, people and feel of "The El" prior to 
its demolition. 

Increasingly, some team members committed themselves to 
the politics of change, using their images to encourage people 
to think about the impact the upheaval would have on their 
own lives. As bonds between artists and residents grew, so 
often did public debate regarding the social and economic 
needs of neighborhood residents and the fear of imminent dis- 
placements associated with the Southwest Corridor project. 

While "The Artist's Lens" used visual documentation to 
express community history and to engage people in discussion 
of the future, a second project, "Boston Contemporary 
Writers," used the written word to capture diverse authors' 
experience of urban life. In 1986-87 UrbanArts held a 
statewide competition to solicit works in poetry and prose that 
would be inscribed in granite and permanently installed in the 
new Orange Line stations and adjacent parkland. This anthol- 
ogy of work by urban writers went far beyond the expectations 
of the MBTA for its art program. A large community advisory 
group had worked with UrbanArts to launch this project and 
had helped with extensive outreach in established as well as 
informal literary circles. The selection panel conducted a blind 
review of manuscripts, and there was no way to know whether 
authors were male or female, black or white, young or old. 

In the end, the 18 selected authors reflected the diversity 
of the Southwest Corridor's residents as well as a range of lit- 
erary experience. For one author, Jeanette DeLello Wmthrop, 
her work on granite was the first piece she had ever publish- 
ed. For others, like Gish Jen, the project represented a unique 
opportunity for her to have her work read and experienced by 
people for whom it had particular resonance. Jen's prose lines 
the long entry corridor into the South Cove station in 
Chinatown. It is a piece with humor, sympathy and under- 
standing for all of us who are engaged in the struggle between 
individual behavior and cultural expectations, a struggle that is 
particularly poignant to the recent Asian immigrants who 
often use this station. 

Finally, UrbanArts launched an oral history project, called 
"Sources of Strength," in collaboration with Roxbury 
Community College. The program offered students and resi- 
dents an opportunity to learn the techniques of collecting oral 
histories and provided a way to interview and collect stories 
from Southwest Corridor residents. 

People were pleased to talk about their lives, often sensing 
that their stories might help to break down the isolation many 
felt within their urban neighborhoods. Some felt that the 
extraordinary quality of many ordinary lives might put to rest 



/ was my father^s favorite, growing 
up — the oldest, smartest, most 
morally upright of the children, per- 
fect except that I should have been 
my brother. So cruel a confusion! It 
was as if in so?ne prenatal rush, we 
had been dressed in one another's 
clothes. With the direst of conse- 
quences for him, certainly: In the 
China of 1948, a scholar's son could 
bring honor to a family, or else 
shame, nothing else; there was no 
room in that small country for a 
good-natured boy with a fondness for 
duck noodles. And as for his brainy 
sister, who would marry meV^ 

— Gish Jen, from ^'The Great 
World Transformed" 



the unremitting, negative stereotypes of urban America gener- 
ated by the media. 

The stories were an inspiration to artists and became the 
material for new work. "Sources of Strength" was produced as 
a theatrical performance at Massachusetts College of Art host- 
ed by Northeastern University in 1988, using oral history text 
for the script. In 1991, an exhibition of text, accompanied by 
photographic portraits of the story tellers, was hosted by 
Northeastern University. In both the theatrical performance 
and the exhibition, the presentations were greeted with "Oh, 
that's you, isn't it" or "I remember that" and clearly had reso- 
nance for their audiences. 

Nearly 800 people participated actively in the design, pro- 
duction and presentation of Arts in Transit projects. Each per- 



PLACES 9:2 



83 




Left: Student photographer Ziad Aoude on location along 
the elevated Orange Line. Photo by Lou Jones. 

Below: Photographer and "The Artists' Lens" Project 
Coordinator Linda Swartz reviews work. With her are Fred 
Richlin, visiting curator, and Elise Katz, photo researcher. 

Opposite page: Old Dudley station before demolition. 
Photo by Lou Jones. 



son came with different objectives. Together, advisors and pan- 
ehsts, interviewers and story tellers, scriptwriters, photogra- 
phers, students, artists and administrators, created a unique 
snapshot of a particular place at a particular time in history. 
Their contribution established a foundation for a public art 
program that reflected the special character of many Boston 
neighborhoods without compromising artistic integrity. Many 
participants also forged a partnership that led to ongoing efforts 
to rebuild and determine the future of their communities. 



Process Over Product 

Public art is rarely, if ever, subjected to environmental impact 
studies to determine how it affects the public. WTien an inter- 
disciplinary study group'* began its assessment oiAits in Tniiisit 
in the summer of 1991, we discovered how few methodologies 
there were to accomplish this task and how many choices of 
focus could be made. We soon concluded that evidence of the 
effectiveness of the project in meeting community goals would 
best be understood if the focus of analysis shifted from an 
assessment of the permanent installations to the methods of 
their selection and to the impact of accompanying off-site edu- 
cational programs. 

By defining their individual mul cultural identities as well as 
producing end products, ... collaborators and audiences are neither 
consu7Hcrs of the works produced nor merely protestors of the 
wrongs they might want to right. Their creative process catalyzes 
reclamation and repossession of self, in art/work and the building 
of covwnmity } 

Arlene Raven's observation that certain forms of public art 
can begin to empower communities by opening up a tiialogue 
and inviting critical as well as creative imaging to take place, is 
shared by many practitioners.'' When members of our study 
group met with participants from the Arts in Transit project, 
we discovered that many felt more invested in their cf)mmuni- 
ty through their participation in the 
selecting and planning for art to be 
installed, especially because these 
are neighborhoods that rarely get 
to see their environments 
enhanced. As one resident 
observer of the Orange 
Line art declared, "We 
deserve art just as 
much as anyone 
else." This is 




especially the case when, as poet Sam Allen eloquently 
observed, urban residents are surrounded by pathology and 
need so desperately to create counter forces that "revive their 
spirit and feed their humanity."'' 

The photographic documentation and oral history projects 
also actively stimulated residents' awareness of the changes 
that had been introduced historically into Southwest Corridor 
communities and were continuing to be introduced by eco- 
nomic and political forces beyond residents' control. WTien 
our study group listened to Arts in Transit participants 
describe these learning experiences, we sensed the effect they 
had on motivating an even deeper interest in pursuing new 
research endeavors and forms of artistic expression. 

The content of the information uncovered through person- 
al stories as well as the many techniques utilized by Southwest 
Corridor residents to research their communities may finally 
have had a more sustained impact on a process of community 
development than the permanent installations themselves. 

Choosing a Past, Creating a Future 

Involving the general public in sharing memories and feelings 
about their neighborhood surroundings through art does not 
necessarily evoke happy or soothing themes. Nor does it nec- 
essarily generate consensus on how that communit}' w ants to 
be represented.** 

In the Southwest Corridor, mass transit stations with spaces 
predicated on motion provided challenging sites from which to 
begin to establish any enduring vision of the present or future 
of the surrounding communit}'. High unemplovoiient, racism 
and the accumulated effects of years of unequal treatment also 
restrained hopes for creating a more liveable environment. 
Given these obstacles, our study group wondered whether, 
and if so, how, local site committees managed to 
choose a past," in Kevin Lynch's words, so that 
the\' might "construct a future"?'' Did 

Southwest Corridor 
neighborhoods use the 
public art process to 
re-present them- 
selves to the larger 
public in the com- 
munirv profiles, 
w hich focussed 
on di\ ersit)' and 
histor\? 




Using an art program to begin a process of healing and 
regeneration in diverse neighborhoods that were experiencing 
differing measures of poHtical and social conflict was not easy. 
Most site committees discussed the cultural diversity of their 
neighborhoods and the difficult transitions they went through 
over time. Rather than emphasize the conflicts, however, they 
chose to emphasize the melting pot qualities and residents' 
common goals or shared values. The stress on common themes 
suggests that site committees were, perhaps, more interested in 
constructing an alternative future than in resurrecting these 
past struggles, and that they deliberately chose one past from 
many possible pasts to attain that goal. 

Most of the Orange Line site committees described their 
past communities as vibrant places in which to live and work. 
They emphasized the multitude of contributions made by eth- 
nic groups through work and community life. Though the 
negative effects of urban renewal, highway construction and 
recent gentrification were discussed, site committees chose to 
remind the public of an earlier time when Southwest Corridor 
communities provided many positive working and living expe- 
riences for their residents. 

The juxtaposition of a vibrant past with a more problematic 
present could have been utilized as a call to activist arms for 
neighborhood residents. The themes, which spark nostalgic 
memories and emphasize the positive aspects of diversity in the 
present, however, are benign rather than provocative. Or so 
they seem. 

Current residents, however, may share an interest in this 
skewed presentation. Negative depictions of the area focussing 
on crime and violence already receive enormous attention in 
the media and have justified public intervention in the past 
(e.g. urban renewal) that displaced residents without address- 
ing their problems. Many Aits in Tniiisit participants believed 



that those outside their neighborhoods ought to be presented 
with a view of Southwest Corridor life that was more balanced. 
The picture that site committees presented to the arts panels 
thus contrasted with that offered by the media or the more 
multi-dimensional perspectives portrayed through oral history 
and photographic imagery. 

The political intentions of the site committees are, howev- 
er, apparent and highly correlated with the destruction 
wrought in the past by urban renewal and gentrification. Their 
aim was to be the autonomous creators of a sense of place in 
order to avoid having one created by others with more ques- 
tionable intentions for the future of their communities. 



Multiple Senses of Place with a Singular Purpose 

As participants describe it, their involvement in Ans in Transit 
project and search for ideas to inform the content ot the art 
selection was not a search for a special theme to represent each 
neighborhood. Rather, it was a search for a sense of efficacy 
and purpose, of thereness. Residents were less concerned about 
the content of themes represented through the permanent art 
than they were about whether the art communicated — to the 
broader public — that they were there, alive, important and 
very interested in staying on. 

Permanent public art installations created through a partic- 
ipatory selection process, together with participatory projects 
involving residents in seeing their neighborhoods in new ways 
through theater, literature, history, and photography, generat- 
ed a sense of ownership of place, the right on the part of resi- 
dents to define and redefine themselves, and, most especialh-, 
to project their existence into the future. 

Though multiple senses of place exist within each commu- 
nity surrounding the Orange Line stations, ever)' neighbor- 



PLACES 9 



hood expressed (through its participation in the art selection 
and oral history, photography and literature programs) a com- 
mon desire to lay claim to its space and to control its future as 
well as to record its past. Such a vision could never have been 
expressed through the placement of a single art product in a 
public space, even one as central as a train station. It could 
only be defined through a process of community building such 
as that initiated through the many education projects that 
accompanied UrbanArts' art selection process. 

Conclusion 

Several months nfter Arts in Transit was completed, our interdis- 
ciplinary study group invited participants to convene to discuss 
the project and its impact. The large turnout confirmed the 
community's continuing interest in the project; conversation, 
however, tended to focus on the future, not the past. 

The artists and residents who gathered that evening suggest- 
ed a wealth of ideas for arts projects they wanted to see happen: 
community art publications, theater productions, arts journals, 
neighborhood architectural tours, ongoing history projects, 
afterschool programs in creative writing and visual arts, and the 
creation of cultural centers. People also talked about the con- 
nections between these activities and potential future economic 
development. Dozens of projects have grown directly from the 
Arts in Transit experience; among these is a major initiative to 
reclaim Blue Hill Avenue as Boston's Avenue of the Arts. 

For many, the underlying message of the Arts in Transit 
project became clear that evening: the arts and humanities 
could serve a larger community agenda for neighborhood revi- 
talization. The installation of the public art, literature, oral his- 
tories, theatrical performances and exhibitions that had been 
part of Arts in Transit helped give form to that agenda. Because 
of the "force of its imagination,""' participation in creating art 
had helped residents to reclaim the cultural meaning of their 
lives. Having reclaimed abandoned spirits, residents felt more 
secure in their efforts to reclaim abandoned spaces and address 
other critical needs. 

This focus on the future suggests new possibilities for pub- 
lic art. It also raises questions. How can public art move 
beyond the simple enhancement of public space to realize a 
more far-reaching role in the social and economic revitaliza- 
tion of urban neighborhoods. 

What lessons can be drawn from Ans in Transit? 

One lesson may be that public artists and arts administra- 
tors cannot assume the pre-existence of a public; instead, citi- 
zen participation must be invited and sustained. The project 
also suggests new indices for evaluating the success of cultural 
activity in public space. Instead of only asking "Do I like it?" 



we may begin to ask more of our public art projects. How 
much discussion does it generate in the community? Is it 
ongoing? Can it sustain local involvement even after the pro- 
ject is completed? How many additional arts activities does it 
spawn? Is the art, and the process of its selection, responsive to 
change? Does it ensure community ownership, not only of the 
art, but of the community itself? Can that sense of ownership 
be sustained to prevent gentrification and displacement in 
neighborhoods upgraded through arts activity? 

Along Boston's Southwest Corridor, many of these ques- 
tions remain unanswered. It will take years to assess the true 
impact oi Arts in Transit. That the questions were raised at all, 
especially by residents deeply affected by their engagement in 
the project, speaks to the reality that public art has gone 
beyond the elusive task of creating a sense of place. Public art 
in Boston has also helped engender a sense of purpose. 

Notes 

I.Jock Reynolds, "Introduction," in Myrna Breitbart, Wilfred Holton 
et. al, Creating a Sense of Place in Urban Communities (Boston: 
UrbanArts, 1993), 1-3. 

2. Policies established during the Carter administration encouraged 
local transit authorities to set aside a portion of construction funds for 
public art, but Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority 
(MBTA) was slow to exercise this option for the Orange Line. Pressure 
from the community forced the bureaucracy to implement an art pro- 
gram that would reflect the diverse cultural identities represented in the 
communities along the Southwest Corridor. 

3. Ciishjen, "The Great World Transformed," Boston Conte?nporaij 
Writers (Boston: UrbanArts, ), 2. 

4. This interdisciplinary study group of scholars, artists, practitioners, 
and community residents was funded by the Massachusetts Foundation 
for the Humanities, the Boston Foundation for Architecture and the 
Rowland Foundation. 

5. Arlene Raven, ed., Art in the Public Interest (Ann Arbor: UMI 
Research Press, 1989), 10. 

6. Lucy Lippard, for example, believes that art for social change must 
encourage people to become involved in "the making of their own 
society and culture." See Lucy Lippard, "Moving Targets/Moving 
Out," in Raven. 

7. Sam Allen as quoted by Myrna Breitbart in Mjrna Breitbart, Holton 
et. al, 43. 

8. Raven, 26. 

9. Kevin Lynch as quoted in Dolores Hayden, "Placemaking, 
Preservation and Urban History " Joiinial of Architectural Education 

(41:3, 1988), 45. 

10. Malcolm Miles, ed.. Ait for Public Places: Critical Essays (Hampshire, 
U.K.: Winchester School of .\rt, 1989), 7. 



86 



PLACES 9:2 




L S 



ANGELES 



Hands On — A Public 
Role in Transit Art 



Jessica Cusick 



Los Angeles' Metro Rail system, a 400- 
mile network of subway and light-rail 
lines, will connect the region's sprawl- 
ing neighborhoods in a new way. The 
arts offer a unique opportunity for 
those connections to be cultural and 
spiritual as well as physical. 

Artists have worked on more than 
60 stations. They have been given 
broad guidelines and encouraged to 
explore all aspects of the station. 
Community participation in the design 
process is especially important to the 
MTA because it fosters increased sup- 
port for the design program; public art 
also can be a vehicle for tapping peo- 
ples' inventiveness, creativity and com- 
mitment when designing new public 
facilties. Several artists have chosen to 
interact with the community in a man- 
ner that is both direct and participatory, 
focusing their efforts on young people. 

Steve Appleton, working on the 
Harbor Freeway station in South 
Central L.A., rented a studio just a few 
blocks from the station. There, he 
established Community Industrial Arts 
(CIA), an apprenticeship program that 
focuses on the interdisciplinary skills 
needed for careers in art, architecture, 
engineering and construction. 

With the help of teachers from 
neighboring Locke High School 
Appleton selected 10 students to work 
in the CIA program for 10 weeks last 
summer. Appleton, other artists and a 
member of the community advisory 
group taught them computer drafting, 
photography, mold making, casting and 




Top: Local high school student during apprenticeship with 
artist Steve Appleton. Bottom: Student traces outline of 
artist Joe Sam for "Hide-n-Seek" project. 
Photos courtesy Los Angeles County Metropolitan 
Transportation Authority A-R-T Program. 



etching. The students not only helped 
design and fabricate floor tiles for the 
station entrance, but also developed 
other projects, including cast aluminum 
sculptures and a series of black-and- 
white photographs. 

Several students are still working 
regularly with Appleton, who wants to 
expand the program and provide ongo- 
ing training opportunities for young 
people. All of the studens will return to 
etch the tiles at the station and help 
with the finishing touches on this new 
landmark in their community. 

At the Wilmington/Imperial Station, 
Joe Sam is creating a giant game of 
"hide and seek." Sixty colorful metal 
cutouts will play among the forest of 
concrete gray columns that support this 
three-level, above-ground station and 
the freeway above it. He is designing the 
figures with the help of children from 
nearby housing projects and schools. 

Sam has a particular affinity for 
working with children. He was involved 
with the Head Start program for a num- 
ber of years and he seems to know 
exactly how to get kids excited about 
his projects. He organized an intense 
two-day workshop during which a 
group of children from the nearby boys 
and girls club created Foamcore cutouts 
of their silhouettes, painted them and 
installed them at the station in a com- 
munity celebration. 

Sam and A-R-T project manager 
Maya Emsden also developed a coloring 
book that was distributed to fourth and 
fifth graders in area schools. Sam and 



Emsden gave students an opportunity 
to work with the silhouettes in the col- 
oring book and to ask questions about 
what an artist does, particularly for a 
transit project. The sessions helped 
open a dialogue about career choices 
and issues of ownership and responsi- 
bility in public spaces. The final figures 
will contain elements of the ideas these 
children generated. Just before the 
work is installed next year, the chil- 
drens' drawings will be exhibited at a 
nearby shopping mall. 




4- 



) . 







. DISPATCHE5 



St. Louis MetroLink 
Changing the Rules 
of Transit Design 







Landscape proposal for sta- 
tion platform and surround- 
ing landscape. By Alice 
Adams and Mark Randale. 
Courtesy Alice Adams. 



In 1988, 1 was one of 
six artists chosen by a 
national competition to 
collaborate with architects 
and engineers in the 
design of a new 
light-rail sys- 
tem for St. 

Louis. The sys- 

tem, called | 

MetroLink, fol- 
lows an eighteen 

mile, east-west route from East St. 
Louis (Illinois) through the St. Louis 
central business district to Lambert 
International Airport. 

MetroLink planners felt artists 
might be able to improve the character 
of the built elements and spaces and to 
add a positive image to the transit envi- 
ronment. But the iiudget had no specif- 
ic allocations lor art projects, and no 
guidelines existed for our involvement; 
we had to invent our own. Moreover, 
preliminar}' engineering documents 
hatl been completed 1)\' the time we 
were appointed.' We decided to ap- 
proach the entire system as a work of 
art — to infuse familiar forms of 
columns, walls, ceilings, platforms, 
stairways and landscapes with special 
qualities and references. 

lb facilitate our overall approach 
two artists each were assigned to the 
three system areas: architecture, facili- 



ties (engineering), and 
systems (electri- 
cal, yards, shops 
' and light-rail 
vehicles.) An 
important organi- 
zational move occurred 
when artist Leila 

Daw joine d 

artist program 
coordinator Ann 
Ruwich on the overall project 
management team. 

The most successful collaborations 
occurred in the large infrastructin-e 
elements that had to be designed, biil 
and built first. For example, we helped 
redesign standard "T"-shaped bridge 
piers into graceful "Y" forms. This 
particular shape makes these supports 
for the trackbed varied and dramatic in 
their march across uneven terrain. 

We rethought the proposed Band- 
Aid-shaped platforms. Our early draw- 
ings show platform edges opposite the 
tracks breaking into areas that merge 
with the surrounding site to allow 
waiting areas and oveniews. This idea 
did not survive but might have made 
passengers feel safer when approaching 
the stations anti w aiting for the trains. 
Although we were able to do little 
w ith the platforms and their sites, a 
sini|)le ami eloquent canop)- for out- 
of-door stations emert'ctl from a com- 



PLACES 9:2 





^^' 



MetroLink bridge piers and super- 
structure. Courtesy Bi-State 
Development Agency. 



Deimar Station shortly after 
opening. Courtesy Alice Adams. 



bination of artist ideas with later 
design work by Tod Williams and 
Kennedy Associates, an architecture 
firm. The sculptural character of this 
canopy is apparent in the concrete 
columns (cam-shaped in section) that 
support double pipe beams and rip- 
pled canopies that resemble the skele- 
ton of a river creature. 

We also worked with the architects 
to reshape the two underground sta- 
tions. Original plans called for box- 
shaped spaces with columns along the 
platforms; the finished stations are free 
of columns and enclosed by curved 
ceilings and battered walls. In one sta- 
tion, the light-rail line threads through 
the opening of an old railroad tunnel, 
whose walls project into the station. 

We left other reminders of the past 
to enrich the present: The LaClede's 
Landing Station incorporates old brick 
walls whose arched windows were 
opened to allow views of the Gateway 



Arch and the Mississippi River; stone 
columns have been left standing at the 
Deimar Station. 

We placed the signal bungalows 
near seven of the stations on concrete 
pedestals surrounded by open steel 
frameworks painted blue, making visi- 
ble these important yet often anony- 
mous off-the-shelf electrical buildings. 
We gave the yards and shops buildings, 
where trains are serviced and washed, 
interior viewing platforms so that the 
workings of the system not usually seen 
could be open to the public. 

From the beginning we had worked 
with the project architects on land- 
scape plans that included terracing, 
sweeping prairie planting, tree-lined 
approach roads and parking lots that 
responded to the terrain and placement 
of the station platforms. The parking 
lot designs, however, fell prey to bud- 
get cutting and typical asphalt plots 
were built. - 



In the final stage of design docu- 
mentation, when most of us artists had 
gone home, a number of elements that 
we thought would be included did not 
appear. We were never certain whether 
this was because of management resis- 
tance or overall budget cutting. For 
example, at 60 percent design the 
Forest Park Station had curving walks 
and stairways reminiscent of the archi- 
tecture of the St. Louis Exposition 
(which had been held in Forest Park). 
The artists and architects both wanted 
this design but had to replace it with 
prosaic standard stairways and paths. 
This was an example of design from 
the architecture group being obliterat- 
ed by the budget cutting of another 
group; in this case, the civil engineers 
of the firm responsible for the Forest 
Park station infrastructure. 

The necessity of making the system 
earthquake proof increased the cost 
late in the design process and deflected 



PLACES 



89 



Left: East St. Louis Station 
canopy structure before sheath- 
ing. Courtesy Alice Adams. 
Above: Historic architectural 
remnants incorporated into 
design of Delmar station at the 
recommendation of the artist 
team. Courtesy Alice Adams. 





r^^ 




funds from elements that were last to 
be bill, such as station finishes. It also 
turned out that tiiiring the construction 
bid phase contractors were given the 
discretion to submit alternatives to the 
final design and profit from budget 
cuts they could make. In this process 
retaining walls along the right-of-way 
that had been selected and coordinated 
by the artists were replaced by versions 
that we had rejected. 

The St. Louis design process con- 
fronted the rigid programs ot contem- 
porary engineering and transit system 
planning with the creative traditions of 
twentieth century site sculpture and 
communitA'-oriented design. We made 
sure that when the question "I low will 
it work?" arose it had to be confronted 
simultaneously with the question 
"What will it look like?" 



Many of our ideas fell by the way- 
side in the final project stages yet the 
scope of our thought and research 
exists in our drawings and notes and is 
available from the Bi-State 
Development Agency. 

When Metrolink opened in July, 
1 W3, the Mississippi Ri\er had risen to 
within seven inches of the highest flood 
wall and threatened downtown St. 
Louis. Nevertheless, thousands ot peo- 
ple who had probably never stood next 
to one antjther crow ded the plattonns 
to ride the trains and to celebrate at the 
stations along the route. As artists we 
had communicated with these passen- 
gers in shaping the paths antl spaces that 
they were to travel even' day. That was 
our intention and in St. Louis we had 
only just begun to change the niles. 



Notes 

1. The artist team (consisting ot .\lice 
Adams, Ciar\' Burnley, Leila Daw, Michael 
Jantzen, .\nna \aienrina .\Iurch and Jody 
Pinto) was chosen by the Bi-State 
Development Agency. The East- West 
Gateway Coordinating Council and 
(Citizens for Modern Transit were local 
groups who intially reconimendcii employ- 
ing artists on the project. 

2. .\tter final design additional hinding 
became available, and the artists and Austin 
Tio, a landscape architect, presented a 
landscape master plan that incorporated 
earlier design team work. Some ot that 
work has started, including a prairie plant- 
ing along route 1-70 and a lighted, colored- 
glass passagewav at the Central West End 
Station tunnel. 



90 



PLACES 9:2 



. DISPATCHES 



The New Urbanism, 
The Newer, and the Old 



The following coinments are excerpted 
from the transnipt of a panel discussion, 
"The Neiv Urbanism: U'lmt Does it Mean 
for Center Cities?'' held May 25 in New 
York City at the Municipal Art Society. 

Susana Totre: The New Urbanists, with 
all of their different stripes, share on 
the one hand a reliance on and admira- 
tion of precedent and on the other an 
emphasis on an urbanism of the center 
— not the center, but of centers. 

The precedents they cite are small- 
er-scale, pedest]-ian-oriented places, 
both in suburbs and in center cities. 
What does not get asked is to what 
extent those precedents involve ideas 
about society that have changed. Some 
of the neighborhoods the New Urban- 
ists look to as exemplars were, in fact, 
exclusive places and segregated, wheth- 
er they were black villages in the south 
or exclusively upper-class residential 
neighborhoods in London or Paris. 

Although America already happens 
to be the most multicultural society in 
the world, we know that the world is 
moving in a direction in which people 
will be, at least bicultural and bilingual, 
perhaps even poly-cultural. Therefore, 
the way people live and the question of 
separate identity, which are crucial to 
the formation of the neighborhoods, 
are not really accounted for in that a 
body of precedents. An important chal- 
lenge is to design without the prece- 
dents, try to really envision how one 
needs to invent, not the new urbanism, 
but the newer urbanism. 

In regard to centers, they are where 
communities come together to feel 



comfortable about themselves. They 
are where celebrations of who we are 
take place. I suggest the newer urban- 
ism should look not only at centers but 
also at edges, critical places of friction 
in our society. 

Ron Shijfinan: I welcome the New 
Urbanism because it is reintroducing 
into the debate on cities throughout the 
country a sense of place and a sense of 
design that has been missing. I am a bit 
concerned, however, because when you 
look beyond the surface of New Urban- 
ism, it begins to look purely physical 
and architectural. It tends to ignore a 
lot of determinants that shape cities, 
such as the race, gender and class dis- 
crimination that pemieates our society. 

When we talk about rebuilding and 
rehealing our cities we must realize that 
one of the biggest problems we have is 
the destruction of civic life. People 
don't know each other. They don't 
interact anymore because they have 
been alienated from each other. Much 
of this comes about because of the way 
we have allowed cities to form — the 
way we've allowed middle-class, white 
and upwardly mobile families to move 
out to suburban areas but have not 
offered low-income and single-headed 
households and minority groups tlie 
same mobility. 

A lot of what we are hearing about 
is not "new" urbanism because it is a 
direct outgrowth of the participatory 
movement that began in the 1960s. 
One tends to think that when people 
are engaged in participatory planning 
or advocacy architectiu-e, they will for- 
get about design. That isn't the case. 



Consider the preser\'ation move- 
ment. It wasn't started by the architec- 
ture or planning professions. It started 
from the presen'ationists and commu- 
nity people who set out to preserve 
buildings and places to which they 
could connect. Who has protected 
inner-city neighborhoods from being 
destroyed, from allowing the Anthony 
Downs and Roger Starrs to plan them 
out of existence? It was the communi- 
ties that knew the fabric that existed 
there and knew what could be built. It 
was communities that began to fight 
and create the entities that would pre- 
serve and rebuild those neighborhoods 
and the larger society. 

Recently, a raging debate has taken 
place in New York Cit}' about a plan in 
the South Bronx that emerged from an 
extensive dialogue among designers, 
planners and neighborhood residents. 
Out of that dialogue came a very good 
plan that identified elements of urban 
design, qualitj' materials and interac- 
tions that could rebuild a civil society as 
well as the physical environment. The 
design standards rejected the inferior 
quality of housing that has been built in 
our cities, as well as the suburbaniza- 
tion of our urban fabric, which doesn't 
build on the qualities of either urban 
hfe or suburban life. 

That plan made its way all the way 
up to the C\ty Planning Commission, 
but then was pronounced not fundable 
by the new cit}' administration. The 
new administration tried to unravel 
what many people had carefully 
worked out. It tried to bring the plan 
back to a lowest common denominator. 



PLACES 9:2 



91 



The fact is, the process of engaging 
people in the South Bronx plan was a 
process of creating a new middle class. 
Cities have always produced middle- 
class people, we don't have to import 
them. We need to rebuild the institu- 
tions and the processes that create a 
new middle class. 

Andres Diumy: After being a rigor- 
ous practitioner of the public process, 
I have lost some confidence in it. 
When given the chance to make deci- 
sions, more often than not, citizens will 
make palpably wrong ones. They are 
usually against mixed use. They are 
always against higher density; they love 
five-acre zoning. For example, we have 
shown inner-city people town houses 
that they could afford, but instead they 
wanted single-family houses that we 
warned them would cost must more. 
The houses are built now, and people 
are protesting that their community 
cannot afford them! 

The public process is not the 
answer. Things will not change until 
planners serve their cities so well that 
they are again trusted. People must 
know that most of the communities 
they admire, including the best of New 
York and many well-loved towns, did 
not just happen, planners shaped them. 
There was once a great deal of confi- 
dence in the planning profession. 
Planners were permitted to do the 
right things, quickly and efficiently. 

Then in the '50s and '60s planners 
disgraced themselves, thanks to the 
influence of architectural inventions, 
and power was taken away from them. 
At public hearings now, our proposals 
often have less authority than the dog 
catcher's. Absolutely anybody can ques- 
tion what the planner says. Until confi- 
dence is restored by some real successes 



and planners are allowed to implement 
the difficult decisions, a mob often 
decide against its best interests. 

Shiffinaii: If we have a breakdown in 
our civil society, I don't care how well 
you design or how well egos make the 
final decision. That space will fail. 

Dttany: The New Urbanists work 
from a certain position of modesty: we 
invent nothing. We select successful 
models and emulate them. Urban 
inventions tend to fail and a city is too 
important to sacrifice to experiment. 

Toire: One cannot really hope for a 
more rational and efficient and orderly 
process in the design of cities. The 
problem with that expectation is that it 
is Utopian and undemocratic. Demo- 
cratic processes that make cities are by 
definition inefficient because every- 
body has to be accounted for and 
things need to be sorted out. If we, as 
urban designers and planners, under- 
stood the messiness and complexity of 
the process and realized that it will lack 
efficiency, we would try to understand 
the kinds of physical forms that can 
respond to that kind of process, rather 
than long for the need or the forms 
that reflect ways of decision-making 
tliat are not democratic in structure. 

Shijfrnan: To me you can't talk 
about Utopia if you don't talk about 
democracy. I'm talking about a dia- 
logue and a debate between the design- 
er and the community. Out of that, a 
new level of design, a new level of 
thinking takes place. VVTiile citizens 
might want to be exclusionaiy, the dic- 
tators in this world do the same thing. 
I'd rather have a system of checks and 
balances that is democratic rather than 
a system of authoritarian decision- 
making. It's the dialogue and the 
debate that are critical. 

Diiany: The citizens will, in fact, 
close the drawbridge, oppose mixed- 
use and economic variety in housing, so 
we must fight them. I'm not the sort of 



planner that does what the citizens dic- 
tate. We are not secretaries to the mob. 

Plarmers must establish their tech- 
nical superiority by truly understand- 
ing cities and gain, thereby, a certain 
respect. Perhaps, then, citizens over- 
come their instinctive itzr.Shijfnian: I 
always thought planners heeded what 
corporations told them to do. What 
has replaced the monopolistic tenden- 
cies of communism is not the citizens, 
it is the monopolistic tendencies of the 
Marriott chain. 

Diiany: One cannot do exactly what 
the developers say either. Planners 
must have their own center, their own 
principles that can resist both the 
developer and the citizen. Citizen 
empowerment is not the salvation. 
Councils were not assembled to be at 
the service of whatever group happens 
to be in attendance at a hearing to raise 
or lower its thumb. Our democracy is a 
representative form of government, 
there are elected officials and planning 
boards, and we should speak only to 
them. The citizens themselves are a 
distorting influence because they are 
specialists, just like traffic engineers are 
specialists. Their specialty' is tlieir own 
backyard and only rarely the communi- 
ty as a whole. 

Andres Diiany is a principal in 
Duany/ Plater-Zyberk, architect and 
toii'n planners, Mia?ni. 

Ron Shiffinan is director of the Piatt 
Institute Center for Covnnunity and 
Enviromnental Development and a mem- 
ber of the New York City Planning 
Commission. 

Susana Toire is chair of the department 
of environmental design at Parsons 
Institute in New York City. 



92 



PLACES 9:2 



TO RALLY DISCUSSION... 



Look More Closely 

at Columbia Point's History 

lb the editor: 

I was especially interested in the 
articles concerning Columbia Point 
[Places 8:4). Having Uved in Italy for 16 
of the last 20 years (and, unfortunately, 
having been out of contact with much 
of what's happening in the U.S.), I had 
no idea that plans — which many of us 
had dreamed of in the early '70s — had 
actually taken form. As a student at the 
Harvard Graduate School of Design 
(1973-75) I had taken part in exploring 
redevelopment (and rehabilitation) 
schemes for the peninsula and the pub- 
lic housing project. Together with 
architect John Hunt (then a student in 
Urban Design) and the Columbia Point 
Alcoholism Program we produced a 
manual ("Building a Home; Building- 
Community") aimed at developing and 
stimulating self-help strategies for the 
CPAP and the neighborhood in gener- 
al. In addition, I coordinated a summer 
program at the Boston ICA in which a 
half-hour slide tape ("The Future of 
Columbia Point") was produced by a 
group of Columbia Point teenagers. 
Certainly, these activities were only a 
small part of the numerous planning 
and design programs that were carried 
out in that decade. 

I wonder why none of the many 
precedents were mentioned in the arti- 
cles. It would have been very interest- 
ing if an author had attempted to ana- 
lyze which (if any) of the many seeds 
had contributed to the growth of the 
new community — which is very dif- 
ferent from that which had been envi- 
sioned, at least in terms of social com- 
position. I wonder how many of the 
teens — so involved in and committed 
to the Utopia that they designed in the 
summer of 1975 — continue to live in 
the neighborhood as adults. 



Perhaps Jan Wampler (who pre- 
pared an interesting article for the 
same issue) or a long-term Community 
Task Force member would be willing 
to produce a chronology and historical 
reconstruction of the numerous com- 
munity-based actions and university 
co-projects that contributed, even if 
only in small part, to the present and 
future of Columbia Point. 

Raymond Lorenzo 

Perugia, Italy 

The New Urbanism Needs 
a Broader Vision 

To the editor: 

The Andres Duany et. al. "New 
Urbanism" seems to me to be as oblivi- 
ous to culture and place as Modernism 
was (review articles, Places 9:1). Mod- 
ernism did more than lead to physical 
disruption of the urban fabric, it dis- 
rupted the philosophic sense of unity 
in communities. 

Transit Oriented Development and 
Traditional Neighborhood Design are 
important techniques for advancing 
some of the urban cultural park pur- 
poses. But it is too bad that the new 
urbanists pay so little attention to the 
formation of cultural, social and envi- 
ronmental institutions, like the city or 
region as a park, on which I submit the 
success of their approach will ultimate- 
ly depend. It is the urban cultural park 
that is needed to prove the integrating 
and unifying forces that will make 
reurbanization acceptable. 

Paul Bray 

Albany, N.Y. 

Paul Bray^f aiticle about urban cultur- 
al parks, ''The New Urbanism: Celebra- 
ting the City, " appeared in Places 8:4. 



Errata 

The credits for several images in Places 
9:2 were incomplete or incorrect. The 
cover photo, an aerial view of Penang, 
Malaysia, is by Patricia Tusa Fels. On 
page 41, the photo of the IBM Tech- 
nical Center is by Julius Shulman. 



PLACES 9:2 



93 



CONTRIBUTORS 



Cynthia Abramson 

is an arts administrator with a 
background in art history, 
public art and urban planning. 
She currently works as a pub- 
lic art and transportation spe- 
cialist with Project for Public 
Spaces in New York City. 

Alice Adams 

has been an artist member of 
the design teams of the down- 
town Seattle transit project, 
the Metroiink light rail system 
for St. Louis and the 
Ronkonkoma Station of the 
Long Island Railroad. She also 
participated in the preparation 
ot a planning document/ 
request for proposals for the 
Midland Metro transit system 
for Birmingham, England. 

Francoise Bollack 

received her architecture 
degree from the Ecole 
Speciale d' Architecture and 
studied at the Ecole Nationale 
Superieure des Beau.x Arts in 
her native Paris. Her New 
York City-based practice has 
received a number of preserva- 
tion awards. She teaches 
C^olumbia Univerity's historic 
preservation program and is 
acti\e in several civic groups. 



Myrna iVIargulies 
Breitbart 

is a professor of geography 
and urban studies at Hamp- 
shire College, in Amherst. 
Her teaching and writing 
focuses on the role of the built 
environment in social change; 
gender, race, and class rela- 
tions in housing and environ- 
mental design; urban public 
space; and the child in the city. 
She works with women's 
development corporations, 
urban public art agencies and 
inner-city children. 



Jacques Cabanieu 

is secretary general of the 
French government's 
Interministr\' Mission for 
Quality Public Constructions. 



Ethelind Coblin 

is a New York architect whose 
projects include residential, 
municipal and nonprofit insti- 
tutional work. She has worked 
with Robert A. M. Stern 
Architects, Johnson Burgee 
Architects and Fo.x & Fowle 
Architects, and graduated 
from Vanderbilt University 
and the L'nivcritv of Kentucky. 



Jessica Cusick 

is Director of Public .\rt at the 
(^dtural Arts C>ouncil of 
Houston/Harris (bounty, 
where she is developing a |)ub- 
lic art and urban design plan 
for Houston, and an adjunct 
professor in the University of 
Southern California's public 
art studies program. 
Previously, she founded and 
directed the public art jiro- 
gram at the Los Angeles 
County Metropolitan 
Transportation Authority. 



Jean-Francois Decaux 

is chief executive officer of 
JCDecaux. He is in charge of 
international expansion for the 
company and responsible for 
activities in 1 2 countries 
besides the U.S. 



Ines Elskop 

received her Licentiate in 
Asian Studies with Honors 
from Universidad Del Salva- 
dor in Buenos Aires. She holds 
a B.A. in Economics from 
F'ordham University and has 
pursued graduate studies in 
architecture at Princeton Lhii- 
versity. Since 1991 she has 
been in practice with Christo- 
pher Scholz, Architect. 



Denise A. Hall 

is principal ot D.A. Hall Arch- 
itects, a New York (]ity-based 
firm involved in commercial, 
residential and industrial work 
in the U.S. and Europe. Her 
projects have been published 
in the U.S. and in her native 
Brazil. She studied at Parsons 
School of Design, The New 
School for Social Research and 
City College. 



Hugh Hardy 

is an architect, lecturer and 
author and founding principal 
of I lardy Holzman Pfeiffer 
.Associates, where his work has 
included the renovation or 
restoration of numerous cul- 
tural facilities and landmarks. 
He is a Fellow of the 
American Institute of 
Architects and active in New 
York's .Architectural League 
anil Municipal Art Society. 



Robert S. Harris 

is director of the University of 
Southern California graduate 
program in architecture. In 
Los Angeles, he is co-chair of 
the Downtown Strategic Plan 
Advisory Committee and of 
the mayor's advisory panel for 
the plan. He is a founder of 
the Urban Design Advisory 
Coaliton and vice-president 
for advocacy of the Los 
Angeles Conservancy. 



Margot Jacqz 

has been a search and recruit- 
ing consultant to architecture 
and design organizations since 
1983. She has been managing 
editor of Skyline and a con- 
tributing editor of Interiors 
magazine, and she contributed 
the architectural notes for the 
first edition of the Access Guide 
to \'eu' York. She received an 
B.A. in architecture from 
Princeton University. 



Lucien Kroll 

is an architect and town plan- 
ner in Brussels. His work has 
included the design and 
redesign of social housing pro- 
jects, which have been noted 
for their approaches to resi- 
dent participation. 



Fumihiko Maki 

w as educated at the L'niversit\' 
of Tokyo, Cranbrook .\cademy 
of .Art and Harvard's Graduate 
School of Design, where he 
later serxed as associate pro- 
fessor. He also has sened as 
professor at the University of 
Tokyo benveen 1979 and 
1989. He continues his prac- 
tice since his establishment ot 
his firm, .\laki and .Associates, 
in 196.S. 



94 



PLACES 9:2 



Pasqual Maragall 

has been mayor of Barcelona 
since 1982. An economist, he 
has degrees from the Univer- 
sity of Barcelona and the New 
School for Social Research. 



Wellington Reiter 

is an architect, public artist 
and assistant professor of arch- 
itecture at the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology. He is 
currently designing an exhibi- 
tion on the subject of "Inhab- 
ited Bridges" for the Centre 
Georges Pompidou in Paris. 



Kees Rijnboutt 

has been state architect of the 
Netherlands since 1990 and is 
a professor of architecture at 
Delft University. 



Raymond Turner 

is design director of the British 
Airport Authority. 



Thomas Walton 

is professor of architecture at 
the Catholic University of 
America. 



Pamela Worden 

has designed an administered 
comprehensive public art 
interventions along urban 
artieries such as riverways, 
roadways and mass transit sys- 
tems. She is founder and presi- 
dent of UrbanArts, Inc., a 
Boston-based non-profit pub- 
lic art agency whose most 
recent initiative is "Blue Hill: 
Avenue of Arts." 



Applications for the 
current RBA cycle 
are now available. 



Rudy Bruner Award 

for Excellence in the Urban Environment 

is pleased to announce 



^BUILDING 
COMMUNITIES: 

Re-creating Urban Excellence 

The fourth Bruner Foundation book on 
urban excellence will be available soon. 

Granted every two years, the Rudy Bruner Award was 
given for the fourth time in 1993. Each cycle of the Award 
has culminated in the publication of a book describing, in 
depth, the process of selecting the Award winners. 

Rebuilding Communities: Re-creating Urban 
Excellence by Jay Parbstein and Richard Wener will be 
published this summer by the Bruner Foundation. 

Single copies of Rebuilding Communities will be avail- 
able free of charge from: 

The Bruner Foundation 

560 Broadway 

New York, New York 10012 

Phone: 212 334 9844 

Fax: 212 334 9842 



PLACES 



9 5 



b 



k 



"***»,. 




Giving Purpose 
to Change 

The InternationnI City 
Design Competition; 

streets as landmarks; 
Allan B. Jacobs defends 
street trees; surrealist 
Paris; excerpts fr o in Th f 
Waste of Place; more. 




Pw _^ 


m 


i^; 


A 






Ho 


Idin 


g 


Steady 


Public art 


i n 


steam and 


s u n 1 i 


gh t; 


c; 


r a d y Clay 


sizes 


up 


th 


e football 


field; 


r ed es i g 


n i n g a r a i 1 - 


road 


corridor 


; St. Louis' 


persistent 


civic vision; 


are b 


e a u t i 


fu 


images of 


r a V a g 


cd places ethical? 




Vision, Culture, 
and Landscape 

Discovering landscapes 
created by groups that 
are not politically or 
economically e m p o u - 
ered — comments from 
Dolores Hayden, Wilbur 
Zelinsky, and others. 




Patterns and 
Personality 

How user participation, 
artist collaboration, and 
Christ o per Alexander's 
Oregon Experiment shap- 
ed The University of 
Oregon science center 
expansion; more. 




Transformation 


and Conservation 


Preservation 


around the 


world — the 


politics o t 


history in th 


e U.S.S.R., 


architecture 


versus tour- 


ism in the 


er a r r i b e a n , 


street bazaars 


in Bombay's 


historic core, 


and more. 




Light in Place 

Focus on light, design, 
and the art of making 
places — how architects 
can organize places in 
light; the civic imagery 
of streetlights; essays 
from Paris, Seattle, Los 
Angeles, India, more. 




Plaza, Parque, Calle 

Profiles o t places where 
Anglo and Latino culture 
meet — and prospects for 
streets, squares, anil 
parks in our i n c r e a s i n g I )• 
diverse cities. Reports 
from Miami, Los Angeles, 
Morelia, Havana, more. 




The Space Between 

Rethinking public hous- 
ing: a place profile <> 1 
Boston's Harbor Point; 
thoughts on the new 
rural I a n il s c a p e ; Italian- 
American n e i g h b o r h o o d 
landscapes; documenting 
the space between; more. 



Winner 
ASLA Merit 
Award 



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Conference Report: 
Excellence in Public 
Service Design Abroad 

Thomas IValtoti 

Hugh Hardy 

Jean-Frangois Decaux 

Pasqual Maragall 

Kees Rijnboutt 

Fumihiko Maki 

Jacques Cabineau 

Ray?nond Turner 




The Design History Foundation 

110 Higgins Hall 

Pratt Institute School of Architecture 

200 Willoughby Avenue 

Brooklyn, NY 1120S 

ISSN 0731-0455 
Made in U.S.A.