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KATARXIS N°2

Architecture and Urbanism

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Villages of Shepherd's Landing, West Virginia
 
by Seth Harry and Associates Inc. Architects and Planners
 
 

"It is of great importance, therefore, to remember that architecture and the city are two faces of the same coin."
 
Demetri Porphyrios

The Integration of Architecture and Urbanism 

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Contemporary Townhouse in Melbourne, Australia
 
by Christopher Doyle
 
(Photo by Christopher Doyle)

The acknowledgement of architecture as an art integrating different scales, --from the region to the level of material and constructive detail--, and encompassing the articulation of particular buildings within their urban or landscape context is an essential aspect of any consistent urban design task.
 
To hold up the pretention that issues of style, or of  the characterization of buildings by means of a coherent architectural language and an excellence of formulation of order, composition, syntax, as well as tectonics, detail and ornament are secondary to urbanism, seems to be a daring proposition. It might be arguable in the sense that the totality of something is more important than its parts taken separately. However it is a well-known evidence that the whole can never be better than any of its parts.
 
Any sincere investigation into the best historical precedents of towns and cities will confirm that their success, and even their very existence comes from a perfect marriage of architecture and urbanism. Any tactical schism between architecture and urbanism can only generate confusion, as it denies the indissociable integration within architecture of the city and all the means of arts and crafts traditionally associated to its building. 

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Jensen Development 
 
by Seth Harry and Associates Inc. Architects and Planners
 
 

"What do real people say? When a building is designed through any sort of public process, one where the users, or even passersby, have a voice, we know that the strong preference is for traditional structures.
 
Democracy leads inexorably to traditional architecture."
 
Andrés Duany

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Kentlands, Street Corner
 
by Duany & Plater-Zyberk
 
(Photo by Duany & Plater-Zyberk)

"There are lessons to be learned in Kentlands at all scales of urbanism and architecture. In particular, the importance of the clarity of the public space network, the relation of that network to the public buildings and fabric, and finally to the urbanism of its architecture including the principled use of regional materials and methods to achieve a real permanence, as well as its symbolic representation, of the architecture."
 
Michael Lykoudis
 
"Charleston Report, First CNU Council, Charleston 2001"
(Published by 'The Townpaper', Editor: Diane Dorney)

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Meridian Court, Pasadena, California
View of Interior Courtyard
 
by Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists

"At the heart of the Modernist argument is the notion that architectural harmony, reference to the past, and tradition in general is mindless and oppressive.
 
 The counter argument is that tradition is a humane antidote to tyranny and selfishness.
 
 In the words of Justice Felix Frankfurter: The ultimate foundation of a free society is the binding tie of cohesive sentiment....Gather up the traditions of a people, transmit them from generation to generation, and thereby create the continuity of a treasured common life which consitutes civilization."
 
Andrés Duany
 
(The American Enterprise, January/February 2002)

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Street View in Windsor, Florida
 
by Duany & Plater-Zyberk
 
(Photo by Lucien Steil)

Architecture and the City 

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Street in Burano, Italy
 
(Photo by Joel Crawford)

"Humans are characteristically political animals. In other words our lives, aspirations, dreams, and mythical perceptions are all formed and re-formed in the context of civic debate as they establish functional and symbolic hierarchies between themselves and the public spaces which at the same time unite and distinguish them.
 
The pattern of relationships (both physical and social) between buildings and public open spaces is what constitutes the city. It is of great importance, therefore, to remember that architecture and the city are two faces of the same coin. We cannot address the one without reference to the other.
 
 In fact, I may even venture here to say that the ethical content in architecture lies exactly in the way by which the city mollifies and tempers the antagonism between the individual and the community by providing a careful balance of public and private spaces and buildings as the physical framework for the life of its citizens."
 
 
Demetri Porphyrios
 
"Building Cities"
 
Series of Architecture by University of Notre-Dame
(Published by Artmedia Press, London, 1999)

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Street in Ponce, Puerto-Rico
 
(Photo by Lucien Steil)