Title: The concise townscape gordon cullen (full book). Page number ISSUU Downloader is a free to use tool for downloading any book or publication on. Gordon Cullen, David Gosling The topic was originally intended to celebrate Gordon Cullen's 80th birthday Cullen's The Concise Townscape, as being. Read "Concise Townscape" by Gordon Cullen available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. This book pioneered the concept .
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The Concise Townscape by Gordon Cullen - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or view presentation slides online. taken to the PDF of your article! •Articles: Click on the tan Articles tab at the top of Gordon Cullen. The Concise Townscape. Van Nostrand: New York, pp. The Concise TOWNSCAPE “Townscape” is the art of giving visual coherence Its concepts were first developed by Gordon Cullen in The Architectural Review.
He was an influential English Architect and urban designer who was a key motivator in townscape movement. He had played a major role in structuring townscape through this book. First edition of book was first published in by The Architectural Press and its copyright with Elsevier Ltd. According to Gordon Cullen Townscape is a visual art contained in the arrangement of buildings, roads, trees, nature and urban environment that decorate the space. The townscape is one way that can be used in term of physical visual to recognize the physical form of a city. The townscape can also be identified by the shape of arrangement that is by the design of buildings and roads that creates various emotional levels to the observer.
In a town we do not normally have such a dramatic situation to manipulate but the principle still holds good. There is, for instance, a typical emotional reaction to being below the general ground level and there is another resulting from being above it.
There is a reaction to being hemmed in as in a tunnel and another to the wideness of the square. If, therefore, we design our towns from the point of view of the moving person pedestrian or car-borne it is easy to see how the whole city becomes a plastic experience, a journey through pressures and vacuums, a sequence of exposures and enclosures, of constraint and relief.
Arising out of this sense of identity or sympathy with the environment, this feeling of a person in street or square that he is in IT or entering IT or leaving IT, we discover that no sooner do we postulate a HERE than automatically we must create a THERE, for you cannot have one without the other.
Some of the greatest towns cape effects are created by a skillful relationship between the two, and I will name an example in India, where this introduction is being written: the approach from the Central Vista to the Rashtrapathi Bhawan 1 in New Delhi. There is an open-ended courtyard composed of the two Secretariat buildings and, at the end, the Rashtrapathi Bhawan.
All this is raised above normal ground level and the approach is by a ramp. At the top of the ramp and in front of the axis building is a tall screen of railings. This is the setting. Travelling through it from the Central Vista we see the two Secretariats in full, but the Rashtrapathi Bhawan is partially hidden by the ramp; only its upper part is visible. This effect of truncation serves to isolate and make remote.
The building is withheld. We are Here and it is There. As we climb the ramp the Rashtrapathi Bhawan is gradually revealed, the mystery culminates in fulfilment as it becomes immediate to us, standing on the same floor. But at this point the railing, the wrought iron screen, is inserted; which again creates a form of Here and There by means of the screened vista.
A brilliant, if painfully conceived, sequence 2 illustration, page In this last category we turn to an examination of the fabric of towns: colour, texture, scale, style, character, personality and uniqueness.
Accepting the fact that most towns are of old foundation, their fabric will show evidence of differing periods in its architectural styles and also in the various accidents of layout. Many towns do so display this mixture of styles, materials and scales. Yet there exists at the back of our minds a feeling that could we only start again we would get rid of this hotchpotch and make all new and fine and perfect. We would create an orderly scene with straight roads and with buildings that conformed in height and style.
Given a free hand that is what we might do … create symmetry, balance, perfection and conformity. After all, that is the popular conception of the purpose of town planning. But what is this conformity? Let us approach it by a simile. Let us suppose a party in a private house, where are gathered together half a dozen people who are strangers to each other. The early part of the evening is passed in polite conversation on general subjects such as the weather and the current news.
Cigarettes are passed and lights offered punctiliously.
In fact it is all an exhibition of manners, of how one ought to behave. It is also very boring. This is conformity.
However, later on the ice begins to break and out of the straightjacket of orthodox manners and conformity real human beings begin to emerge. And so on.
It begins to be fun. Conformity gives way to the agreement to differ within a recognized tolerance of behaviour. Conformity, from the point of view of the planner, is difficult to avoid but to avoid it deliberately, by creating artificial diversions, is surely worse than the original boredom.
Here, for instance, is a programme to rehouse 5, people. They are all treated the same, they get the same kind of house. How can one differentiate? Yet if we start from a much wider point of view we will see that tropical housing differs from temperate zone housing, that buildings in a brick country differ from buildings in a stone country, that religion and social manners vary the buildings. And as the field of observation narrows, so our sensitivity to the local gods must grow sharper.
There is too much insensitivity in the building of towns, too much reliance on the tank and the armoured car where the telescopic rifle is wanted. Within a commonly accepted framework-one that produces lucidity and not anarchy-we can manipulate the nuances of scale and style, of texture and colour and of character and individuality, juxtaposing them in order to create collective benefits.
In fact the environment thus resolves itself into not conformity but the interplay of This and That. It is a matter of observation that in a successful contrast of colours not only do we experience the harmony released but, equally, the colours become more truly themselves. In a large landscape by Corot, I forget its name, a landscape of sombre greens, almost a monochrome, there is a small figure in red.
It is probably the reddest thing I have ever seen. Statistics are abstracts: when they are plucked out of the completeness of life and converted into plans and the plans into buildings they will be lifeless. The result will be a three-dimensional diagram in which people are asked to live. In trying to colonize such a wasteland, to translate it from an environment for walking stomachs into a home for human beings, the difficulty lay in finding the point of application, in finding the gateway into the castle.
We discovered three gateways, that of motion, that of position and that of content. By the exercise of vision it became apparent that motion was not one simple, measurable progression useful in planning, it was in fact two things, the Existing and the Revealed view. We discovered that the human being is constantly aware of his position in the environment, that he feels the need for a sense of place and that this sense of identity is coupled with an awareness of elsewhere. Conformity killed, whereas the agreement to differ gave life.
In this way the void of statistics, of the diagram city, has been split into two parts, whether they be those of Serial Vision, Here and There or This and That. All that remains is to join them together into a new pattern created by the warmth and power and vitality of human imagination so that we build the home of man. That is the theory of the game, the background. In fact the most difficult part lies ahead, the Art of Playing. As in any other game there are recognized gambits and moves built up from experience and precedent.
In the pages that follow an attempt is made to chart these moves under the three main heads as a series of cases New Delhi ENDPIECE The message of this book is that there is a lot of fun and a lot of drama to be had from the environment. Come and see where I live in the overspill housing of Liverpool or Manchester, in the new suburbs of Paris or the gridirons of American cities. See what you can make of that. But I have not combed the world just to make a picture book that can be picked up and put down.
The examples are assembled for a purpose. The purpose is to expose the art of environment which, had it been understood and practised, could have prevented the disasters mentioned.
The reason for this book is to reach out to people like you to try to show you what you are missing and to try to implant a growth point of what could be.
Even if you lived in the prettiest of towns the message is still just as necessary: there is an art of environment. On the one hand it has devolved into cobbles and conservation, and on the other it has hived off into outrage and visual pollution.
Neither of these, if! And consequently, ten years later, it becomes necessary to start again. Now is the time to fashion a much more realistic tool. Thanks to the aforementioned gladiators the subject is now not unknown. But it is linked to constraints and exhortations. Sans serif of the type shown below — all too commonly used — is functional- ism without feeling, it is completely characterless and totally lacks the robustness of the example on the previous page.
The shop lettering, bottom, debilitated and deformed, overlooks the prime need for legibility. The smallest details of the street or civic space should fit into the town- scape in perfo rming their individual functions. The circular seat and the corrugated edging are representative of the vast complexity of detail met with in civic gardens and squares that are frequently called ornamental. These two are selected for the satis- factory way in which they avoid such a description, yet achieve in their functional wav, embe llishmen t of a far higher quality.
Of the many small structures to be found this public lavatory may sum up the functional vigour of expression.
The two examples below show what happens when this clarity of purpose becomes obscured. White letters painted on the road do not obstruct, and they site their messages in the spot most easy to see.
In this satisfactory way the road takes over the nautical black and white. Bollards, traffic- signs and lamp-posts are the repetitive vertical dements of the street scene. Their large number puts a premium on simplicity and clarity, which is clearly the reason why street symbols have borrowed freely from the nautical tradition of black and white. It should not be difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaff above and below, for example on this page.
Squares for All Tastes Town squares, once the preserve of privilege, have since the wartime salvage of railings become public spaces. This is taken from a study written in It is unlikely and undesirable that they should all return to their old use, but so far no definite pro- posals have been put forward for bringing them into line with the needs of a changed society.
The particular squares named are token ones merely used for the purposes of illustration. The aim is to put forward principles which may be applied anywhere. Right at the start let it be pointed out that where function and archi- tectural unity still march together no change is advocated. Why not make Gros- hndsesping in the technical meaning of informal venor Square a real American Comer? Not the non-academic layout.
America associated in the eyes of Europeans with With justification we may assume the prednaual vulgarization; the connection is with Fifth Avenue organization of dries and a more equal distribution rather than Broadway. On great occasions the from all but local traffic. American Embassy could hold garden parties in the While the metropolitan square is an amenity which square.
A comer of London that is America for both should sot remain barred to all but the few who Londoners and Americans, happen to overlook it, that does not imply the obliteration of all distinctions. As Mayfair happens the public square A view of Leicester Square in the eighteenth century would be virtually impossible to reconcile with its present condition, a boisterous jungle of traffic, changing signs, vivid lettering and garish posters.
The desperate pre-war attempt to preserve a be-raikd ggT dgn 3 although a pleasing evidence of official grit and fteerminari oiL, WES always a flop. It amply induced a depressing feeling of prohibition, the feding ihar one was. Far better to obtain the feeling of space and openness by sweeping away the railings and laying down a paved floor throughout.
There are sufficient cafes round the square to rent space for tables, as is done in France, and gaily coloured velariums suspended between the trees would give protection from birds and rain.
What is most im- portant, however, is for the landscapist to under- stand the vital and popular visual appeal of the Leicester Square type of landscape. The fact that it is the aesthetic expression of the dive and pin-table saloon, is no reason for the urban planner to turn up his nose. These activities, for better or for worse, are a part of urban life, and as such make a very valuable contribution to the visual scene.
The existing buildings and proposals for the future of Russell Square suggest that its character should be municipal and monumental. The buildings which surround it are on the whole massive and monumental, London University, the Imperial and Russell Hotels and the new office blocks. Where there is a marked change in the use and character of the boundaries of the square it is reasonable to suggest a general change of character to utilize the drama which traffic in volume can produce.
That is to say, the monumentality should flow right through with all its devices of the axis, fountains, seats and sculpture, and so produce an unsubde yet impressive effect of metropolitanism. Even so in certain squares there should be pedestrian priority — that is id say, if there is a pedestrian and a taxi, the mi gens out of the way of the pedestrian.
The attempt to preserve a few square feet of cat-ridden, sooty turf in the smaller public squares is surely hardly worth the trouble. Rather pave the whole area as in the Temple Courts, which will emphasize the collegiate atmosphere and the pedestrian priority; it will also emphasize the fact that these squares have become the property of all.
The quadrangle is the basis or neutral pattern which will vary as local con- ditions change. It may be municipal as in the ex- ample of Russell Square, exclusive as in Grosvenor Square, popular as in Leicester Square, or quietly collegiate as in this example of Manchester Square. Cross as Focal Point The idea of the town as a place of assembly, of social intercourse, of meeting, was taken for granted throughout the whole of human civilization up to the twentieth century.
You might assemble in the Forum at Pompeii or round the market cross, but you still assembled; it was a ritual proper to man, both a rite and a right.
Nor in the general way did you have to explain whether your motives were proper or profane. Men are gregarious and expect to meet. In all ages but ours, that is. Here the Poultry Cross at Salisbury 2, and over page, is taken as an example of the sort of process that endangers places of congregation in our age. Observation suggests that a fixed object acts as a magnet to movable objects: It is obvious that the motive for this arrangement arises from the desire to be tidy and not clutter up free space with separate objects over which people could stumble.
He needs it in the various out- door activities of trade, recreation and social life. Now, to provide open space so that these activities can take place at all, is in itself not realy sufficient. Open space as an element in the town is essential but it needs also to be furnished with such objects as will mm the disassociated stream of people into groups as in 3, previous page, at Orvieta, Italy. For people are gregarious and need the incident, the feature or the anchor.
In the case of a tree one might say that it provides shade or shelter and of the covered market cross — the same thing. Yet the anchor provides a little more than the purely utilitarian attraction. By construction it is im- 4 The Poultry Cross is a handsome structure, it is also of considerable age and given these two qualities then the happy partnership between planet and satellite, between anchor and people, stands in great danger- The process is as follows: In search of this they espy the Poultry Cross, 5, with its surrounding pave- ment, a valuable piece of ground.
The only thing that preserves the open space from immediate seizure is the obstinate cross. However, it is dis- covered to be a work of architecture and should be protected, it is railed in, 6, and the traffic edges closer. Divorced now from its function it only awaits the final retirement to a country park whilst in the town the stream of people circulates, the traffic moves faster and another slice of the pedestrian town is washed away, 7 , another anchor is lost to another open space.
Fortunately this has not yet happened in Salisbury, but it may not be long. The Poultry Cross in Salisbury illustrates this last point since, as can be seen in 4, the market stalls erected in its shade have their own tarpaulin covers and do not rely on the structure for protection against the elements.
Rather do they rely on its im- movability, its security in the surging tide of traffic and shoppers. Closure is the cutting up of the linear town system streets, passages, etc. Enclosure on the other hand provides a complete private world which is inward looking, static and self-sufficient.
Hence closure is not intended to mean the closing of a vista, such as Buckingham Palace at the end of the Mall. For here the sense of progression and continuity is lacking whilst closure is rather the articulation of movement the closed vista falls into the camp of enclosure. A bu il d ing or wall which creates closure will generally provide also a feeling of anticipation.
Closure is effected by some irregularity or asym- metry of layout whereby the path from source to gpal is not automatically and inevitably revealed to die eye as in the gridiron plan. In Gloucester the two main roads cross cleanly at right angles with the result that the visitor is confused, he cannot get his bear- ings since the crossing looks the same from every approach.
At Chester, on the other hand, the cross- ing is staggered slightly so that buildings block the view and clarify the situation by the provision of landmar ks. And W we see is not a seconds elevation, as might be 1 peered, but the main, el don. Here is exactly tli kind of entrance a mar town ought to have, a. The narrow gaj 2. Qosure trams forms a line into an aJ a road into a place, squ.
The letter A is a recognition point for the next picture below.
Here the next theme is intro- duced in the shape of a new piece of stage scenery coming in at an angle. The sudden widening and oblique angle of the road produce the sense of area rather than line, and the eye is made conscious of arrival by the sudden appearance of the town hall. In fact, however, there is no square. These are street scenes pure and simple. Due to the angle of the road ic performs the last act of closure before.
This is the finale to the successive acts of closure which formed a series of dramatic visual events in a co- ordinated sequence which provides, on a delightful domestic scale, a model piece of townscape.
Acci- dental or deliberate? Those who invariably answer accidental to that question might like to be reminded that the Bastard brothers, architects, rebuilt the town complete after a fire in the eighteenth century. The Line of Life The essential function of a town should be visible from a single glance at the plan.
This obviously is because the arrangement of its parts reflects certain lines of force which represent also the combination of circumstances that brought the town into being. Conversely, when a town lacks character and struc- ture, the failure can nearly always be traced to some impediment in the relationship of form to function, whereby the lines of force have become confused, or have disappeared.
Since his task, in any case, is one of resolving conflicts and allocating the regard to be paid to rival demands, and since the procedure he follows is inevitably one of particulari- zation, the success with which he discovers and gives visual interpretation to the most significant lines of force will largely determine whether the town achieves an intelligible and characteristic form.
This opportunity is best revealed in a town — such as the typical seaside town — where the lines of force have an obvious and immediate relationship with lines of demarcation in the geographical sense.
On the following pages three towns on the south coast of England are used as a demonstration of the sort of action a planner, aware of the significance of this relationship, might take in trying to preserve or create a good urban character.
We start with Brixham, a place where the meeting of land and sea forms a natural amphitheatre en- closing the harbour, and the shape of the town can hardly do otherwise than coincide with the one dominating line of force — in this case the gathering of a community protectively round the shipping to which it owes its living. All the planner has to do is to intensify the result visually, so that every particle of drama and logic can be wrung from it.
In the next example, Fowey, the line of force has still one dominating character, the crowding activity along the waterfront, but here, with houses and cliffs descending straight into the water and the absence of a continuous quay, a barrier is placed between the inhabitant and what is, in fact, the real line of force, the coast-line.
Steps occasionally run down to it from the interior, but there is no con- tinuous access along it. All that is needed is to link; these points together and the real character of Fowey falls into line. The harbour facing page is the effec- tive centre of the town, which is built up into terraces round the almost enclosed inner harbour in the form of a natural amphitheatre.
It is a com- bined social and working H4 centre; visitors promenade the quays and treat the fish market as a free entertain- ment; coloured sails and flags and the whirling wings of seagulls combine to create a stimulating effect — that of a busy in- dustrial scene permanently en fete.
In these circumstances nothing is required of the planner but a watchful eye to make sure the pre- sent compact unbroken line of surrounding build- ings is not interfered with — his only additional task being to provide car parks out of sight of the harbour, so that the sparkling water-front scene is no longer blocked by the dark shapes of rows of parked cars.
The planner can, however, intensify the existing character of the amphitheatre of buildings by seeing they are given the maximum visual co- herence. An obvious way of doing this is to white- wash them. At present the buildings surrounding Brixham harbour are mostly a mixture of duns and greys previous page. The unifying effect of whitewash is shown in the picture above.
Fowey As with Bnxham, Fowey's topographical shape re- flects pretty closely the raison d'etre of the town: But here, instead of a circle of buildings round an en- closed harbour it takes the form of a line of buildings along the shore of an estuary. Brixham has the special virtue, from which it derives much of its vitality, that the line where land and water meet is a social as well as an archi- tectural line — the line where sailors and lands- men freely mingle.
Fowey, on the other hand, has the failing that the satis- factorily built-up line of architecture acts as a barrier, only allowing human contact with the water at one or two isolated points. The planner's first task then is to arrange some sort of continuous access, so as to revitalize the water-line — see proposals on the following pages. The principle he should follow is that a mere phy- sical line along the water- front such as the cliff-top roadway bounded by a wall in the picture above is not enough; there must instead be intimate living contacts all along the line, below.
But only at certain points is there public access to the water, with the result that Fowey loses the oppor- tunity of drawing maximum vitality and character from the fact of the fullest social life being lived along the line where land and water meet. One way of achieving this would be to build a pedes- trian walk at whatever changing levels the topo- graphy suggests, linking up the existing access points into a continuous line.
The pictures show how this walk might appear at various points where access is now unobtainable. Looe A more complex case than Brixham or Fowey, be- cause the line is a branch- ing one, eventually be- coming two lines, one along the river, one at right angles facing the open sea plan opposite. Each stretch of water-front has its own individuality, expressing the fact that the most intense social life is lived along two fronts, each different in character but to which Looe jointly owes its existence.
The river- front line is a fish market bottom and 2a similar in style to that at Brixham. The unsatisfactory part of Looe is that stretch of the line before it divides, 2b — before the High Street branches off from the river-front and leads away to the plage.
This is where the linear water-front character should be most strongly marked, where the in- habitants should have most opportunity of living a water-front life — both spiritually and physically. What is called for is a boulevard where shops — this is an extension of the main shopping street — forming a continuous base to the cliff that rises above, could face a wide promen- ade.
The drawing opposite suggests how this key stretch of Looe could be brought back into charac- ter by providing a car part: The river-front is lined with houses in caarinuous terraces; the sea-front the same. Legs and Wheels The street scene is bounded by sky, walls and road. The sky, ever changing, the walls, old and crumbling or sharp and new; variety of style and contour, texture, colour and character.
The floor — a mono- tone of tarmac. Headed by the fire engine and ambulance, the motor-car has penetrated every crack and crevice of our cities, lanes, yards and courts. All the richness and variety of the floor has been submerged in the traffic flood and inhabitants of buildings venture out at their peril, making their way by means of islands, refuges, safety zones and beacons.
When we consider that in the normal urban block streets occupy about one-third of the total area we get some idea of the loss which this mechanized age is sustaining.
Instead of walls and floor being in harmony, the floor linking or separating architectural elements and expressing the kind of space which exists between buildings, it is as though the buildings were models plonked down on a blackboard. They can be light or dark, rough or smooth, plain or intricate.
The possibilities of design are immense. Yet today they are all sacrificed to the technical necessities of the contact between the floor and a rubber tyre. Traffic inside a building is mainly pedestrian, collisions are rare and fatalities even rarer. In the forecourt or drive, in the open air, things are still sane and reasonable. The odd car realizes its in- trusion and makes way for the pedestrian. The warm, comforting security of indoors passes too quickly to the exposure of the hunted.
Thus we have two results arising from the uni- versal flooding of our towns by the motor-car: A coloured pencil is more easily chosen out of its box if the outside of the pencil is coloured to match the lead instead of the colour being named.
In the same way a universal convention of colours and patterns indicating such things as one-way streets, parking, pedestrian crossings and so on would allow the road to be read at a glance.
This would, as a result, introduce a new functional aesthetic into the urban view. First of all, a system of priorities to stem and direct the flood of traffic. Secondly, a set of road conventions to enforce this, such conventions being integral with the road itself and of such a nature as to enhance the surrounding buildings. For example, a street or square limited to pedes- trian use would be protected by a stretch of cobbles across its access.
The drawings opposite and on the next page illustrate the point. Nevertheless, en- trance for fire engines and ambulances is essential, and this precludes the use of any physical barrier. The illustration shows a suitable convention — a stretch of cobbles across the access road through which a flagged walk pro- vides pedestrian access since cobbles are difficult to walk on.
Cobbles are regarded as an alternative to grass. Inside this pro- tecting band the designer is free to employ any material in any pattern. In this way a street which may have a dozen cars belonging to it is, as often as not, busy all day with traffic which uses it as a short cut or an easy way round a major cross- roads.
This example the viewpoint is shown by the arrow on the plan shows the street or square in which traffic is limited to that having business in the area. There are two points to notice here: Demarcation of pavement, if any, is left to discretion of designer. In this drawing a two-foot band of setts is used with bollards at intervals.
It is the universal spread of traffic, its arrogant seizure of all roads, that calls for protest. It is very human to want Hazards Materials of the visual planner are lumps of rode, cement, wood, earth, metal, tar, grass, in various states, tended or otherwise, and hills, water, people, the stuff of which the world is made. His urban job is so to dispose and relate these lumps of matter as to create out of the demands of the human race for shelter and communication, leisure and cere- monial, a humane kind of urban scenery: Although many of his problems may be large ones dealing with such matters as the siting of traffic arteries, their realization depends on mere nuances of design, a truth which perhaps amongst visual planners only architects perceive in all its meaning.
Selected here in illustration of this truth is a problem described as the problem of the hazard, a problem dismis sed by most planners as a mere matter of fencing, hedge or railing, wire or yew.
Today as the restrictions pile up again the authorities are beginning to remember amongst other things their r ailing s, and this maw the moment propitious for the consideration of what might be called the theory of hazards. Fencing is a way of creating hazards, but hazards are of many kinds.
Sometimes they are merely moral, as when a piece of mown grass is surrounded by a stone kerb with the unwritten command "Keep off 5. Where space and distance are wanted this is an acceptable form, though the acceptance of the moral hazard assumes a society with a desire to honour conventions.
More practical expedients are the ha-ha and the water hazard, but there are cases in which the practical as well as the scenic requirements demand a visual obstacle or a sense of enclosure, and here railings or walls may actually be an asset to the scene.
The notes that follow try not to lay down general principles but to explore the visual possibilities of the hazard re- garded as a component of the urban scene and as one of the many tricks in the box of tricks of the visual planner. I I railings Since salvage-time when nearly every square lost its original cast-iron railings, many changes have occurred.
First there were the shelters, surface or semi-submerged, then grass gave way to large tracts of mud. In many cases, however, although ownership was unchanged, those for whom the privileges were kept had gone.
Offices, embassies, clubs, schools and flat-dwellers had replaced them. In very few cases have the owners yet caught up with the new requirements that a changing society and its consequent shifts in urban population have brought about.
Once the new demands on squares are realized, certain problems will arise as to their planning and upkeep. On the following pages pro- posals are made which closely affect both these problems. A careful choice of plant species is essential in the first place, and in the second proper upkeep and atten- tion. The planted hazards thick green walls will effectively screen the secluded inner heart so that whatever pleasure the landscapist has provided there will come as a surprise, which, in itself, is an important part of the English landscape technique.
On the right Belgrave Square after the removal of the railings and before the austerity fencing was put up. A good example of a physical hazard, well- designed and, in this case, well worth retaining. Developed for enjoyment of the sweeping vista, the ha-ha, sub- stituted for the garden wall or hedge, revealed that all nature was a garden and, what was gratifying, a jardin anglais.
What has not been realized and acted upon is the fact that the ha-ha, dry or wet, is equally effective for the limited vista as for the distant one. It is well suited to solve many of the problems which beset the urban landscape architect. For the un- enclosed square, where the concealing mystery of the shrub or raised mound is not desired, it reveals the prize, while at the same time enha n ci n g its appeal, by making it relatively hard to attain.
As a hazard the change of level is perhaps the most subtly persuasive of them all, guiding the eye and the foot where the landscapist wills, and substituting for the keep-off notice a bank, which most people in a city will avoid like the plague. The Floor When the railways came they built their own per- manent way linking town to town.
Not so the internal combustion vehicle which used roads and streets which already existed and doing so swept a special path for itself through all the towns of England. On first inspection this would appear a natural develop- ment. But the river of vehicles has damaged town life in one of its less obvious but still essential senses. It has severely restricted the right of free assembly. To congregate, to be able to stop and chat, to feel free out of doors may not seem very important compared to the pressing needs of transport, but it is one of the reasons people live in town and not by themselves — to enjoy the pleasures of being sociable.
Whereas the distinction between in and out doors should be one of degree and not kind, it has now become the dif- ference between sanctuary and exposure. Buildings are gathered together but they do not form towns; one might almost as well build houses facing across a railway line.
There are two closely related aspects to the right of assembly: From the visual standpoint the greatest single loss suffered is neutralization of the floor, the space between buildings, which has changed from a connecting surface to a dividing surface. It has also changed from a particular to a generalized surface. The first reaction of a person who becomes aware of the value of the floor as potential scenery is to decorate it.
Hence the flower-bedded traffic round- abouts. Hence also the somewhat arbitrary use of cobbles to form decorative patterns which, though not so flagrantly pretty, still originate from a desire to add decoration.
The distinctive patterns formed by differing materials arise from use. Imagine users of the floor acting in an instinctive or predestined manner and then plot their movements.
These will vary from the use of hazards rough surfaces to ac- cepted symbols zebra striped crossings , and to nuances which can safely be transgressed except at certain periodic functions. Further, these patterns if commonly adopted will provide in two dimensions the service which today normally takes three.
I have already mentioned that the floor could be a connecting surface between and around buildings. If it is to do so it cannot be a neutral ribbon of asphalt flanked by pavements. It must be considered an equal partner with the buildings and by the nature of its levels, scale, texture and general propriety, produce the effect of sociability and homogeneity. It is no good running a slab of concrete between buildings and, since it is continuous, hoping for homogeneity.
The floor must contribute its own unique type of drama. In what particular quality does the secret and uniqueness of floorscape lie? Does it, as some may suspect, lie solely in the charms of weathering, wear and settlement? Or does it lie in the variety of materials, many of which are now obsolete for their traditional uses? I believe the essentials lie in neither.
It is a thin veneer of durable material covering the most powerful and natural element in the urban scene: This imparts to the floor an austerity and also an inconsequential waywardness. It per- suades, segregates, emphasizes, joins, divides by surface pattern.
This quality can be seen not only in the vast paved square but in the little flagged strip that disappears round the corner. The first is the affirmation, the second a hint. It im- poses a certain discipline on the make-up of the floor and it is this which gives to the floor its final character. The following pages demonstrate the points on which this case rests.
The illustrations are from one town, Woodstock in Oxfordshire. U is not just something that buildings stand on and cars travel across, it has a character and vitality peculiarly its own, long neglected.
The band of cobbles acts an u warning buffer between flagstone and tarmac. Just one example of how varied materials could, if stand- ardized, give a visual High- way lode, establishing convent ions, bchaviou rs and frontiers. Cobbles are suppressed in the shopping area, on the wall side of the pavement, to allow more elasticity of movement and use. The street is the same but the shops have given way to houses — so cobbles return to each side of the paving. The result establishes the independ- ence of the floor from buildings.
The small;, free path is set in a buffer zone; its casual gutters, its trees in the roadway express the informal domestic nature of the neighbourhood. Prairie Planning If I were asked to define townscape I would say that one building is architecture but two buildings is townscape. For as soon as two buildings are juxta- posed the art of townscape is released. Such prob- lems as the relationship between the buildings and the space between the b uilding s imm e dia tely assume importance.
Multiply this to the size of a town and you have the art of environment; the possibilities of relationship increase, manoeuvres and ploys pro- liferate. Even a s mall congregation of buildings can produce drama and spatial stimulation. But looking at the kind of towns and housing estates built by speculators or local authorities one is forced to con- clude that this conception of townscape has not been considered to put it very mil dly.
We are still in the elementary stage where the individual building is the be-all and the end-all of planning. Here they are viewed against this yardstick. Open country is the goal of the victim of industrial squalor, with the dream house, i, that sits in it, framed by trees that lean down low over the nine bean rows to the radio strains of Bless this House.
Here we see the birth of a street full of such houses. What has happened? One can understand these being necessary in the Canadian prairie, but in a small English town what can they signify except that the scale of development has got completely out of hand — or rather out of foot? Another by-product of this same giantism of scale is the problem of what to do with.
Pavements then? Surely not. Grass them? Flower beds? Alas whatever it is the main impression of prairie pla nn i n g is that of vastness, the feeling that the little two-storey houses are far too puny and temporary to match up to the monumental, overpowering space.
The last thing it does is suggest a stroll; the unhappy pedestrian is left with a feeling of hope- lessness in face of a terrifying infinity of wideness punctuated at intervals by seas of concrete.
It must be made clear that the carping note of these obser- vations is not directed at architects, since in the main the buildings themselves are successful, and in the layout the architects are the victims of their committees who have somehow got this bee of dispersal into their bonnets — the idea that it is not quite nice to have a neighbour, that the ideal town is one that will fill — or empty — a prairie, 9 Stevenage.
One of the essential qualities of a town is that it is a gathering together of people and utilities for the generation of civic warmth. However overcrowded, dingy, insanitary and airless the old towns may be most of them retain this quality, which is the essential quality without which a town is no town, with which lack of air is merely a minor nuisance — let us call it towniness.
Where has it got to in the new towns? Or are the new towns merely intended to negative the old towns and so negative towniness? We see no sign of it here. Instead we see the growth of a new ideal at work which might be described as ebbiness — the ebb tide: The result is a paradox, the paradox of concentrated isolation , the direct antithesis of towniness, which results from the social impulse.
The planners have clearly tried to exploit the potentiali- ties of this existing feature, but one would have thought that such a building would have been seized upon as a focus to rouse and rally new development, providing the kind of rallying point the church has always provided in English town planning.
Instead it has been isolated in green fields, when even God asks for no more than one acre; and all the houses turn their back on it. So much so that even the nice views of it though cut off abruptly , n, look accidental. Next, a row of shops in Stevenage, 12, shows how another centre or meeting place has been thrown to the winds.
It is blandly self-effacing, simply continuing the row of houses. What should be a point of congregation becomes an extended line, dispersing the group and paying homage to the queuing principle. Another facet of this disintegration can be seen in the houses at Hemel, Where house types vary, a relationship develops between the buildings which may be turned to good use in bringing the scene to life. One feels that the buildings are in cahoots.
By contrast, when buildings are identical, without regard to direction or levels, we do not get unity but a sulky, resentful monotony. The last example is of the neighbourhood centre at Adeyfield, Hemel Hempstead, 14, where we have the welcome appearance of a square which sensibly contains shops, pub, cinema and church. Yet instead of the square being the culmination of the neighbourhood, the centre, hub and vortex, it is placed to one side avoiding, so far as possible, a direct relationship with the houses it serves, Interlude at Blanchland The new towns illustrated here are dead against the whole tradition of English town planning, or any town planning.
English town planning has been more open than European in the past, but this kind of openness refutes and frustrates the whole idea of town. By contrast, Blanchland in Northumberland, though no more than a village, has evident urban qualities. Based on the air view overleaf, the follow- ing sequence of views has been sketched to illustrate the essential points.
The gap reveals urbanity in the countryside. Ag ain , we axe not presented with an inter mina ble vista but by one blocked by buildings. Compare the two air views on the right, the one of Blanchland, 22, and the other of the proposed town centre of Crawley, The approaches to planning seem to be diam etrically opposed. In the first the village centre is treated as an urban space in contrast to the surrounding countryside; it has no trees and it is paved.
In addition, the relationship can also be seen visually on the quality of a city is determined by the shape and size of the shape and arrangement of urban space. According to author the values should be added in the urban design of the city so that people can emotionally enjoy a good urban environment through psychological and physical sense.
Four points that are emphasized in this book are serial vision, place, content, and the functional tradition. Each of the four core townscape has details aspects which can be seen in the book in the form of cases. According to author serial vision can be explain as the visual images captured by an observer who happens when walking from one place to another in a region.
Recording by observers view the image into pieces which gradually and forms an integral image recording area for observers. Typically, there will be similarities or a marker of the pieces of the view that gives certainty to the observer that he was still in the same region. According to author Place are owned observers feeling emotionally at the time in a certain place.
For example a man on the edge of a cliff will have a very lively sense of position where as a man at the end of deep cave will react to the fact of enclosure. Place influenced by the boundaries that exist in such a place.
According to author content is the content Fabric includes colour, texture, scale, style, character, personality and uniqueness of an area that affects one's feelings toward the state of the city environment.
Content depends on two factors, namely the level of conformity and the level of creativity. According to author functional tradition is quality in the elements that make up the urban environment.