Butterfly City, Korea by GlobalDesign Workshop
Beyond New Urbanism
Principles of the Past, Technologies of the Present, Vision for the Future
(Continued from Where New Urbanism Goes Wrong)
It seems that the intent of the New Urbanists is to recreate Old Urbanism, inclusive not only of those time tested principles based on human nature, but also the specifics of architecture and planning that were based on the available technologies of the time. We respect the former and reject the latter.
Throughout history, architects and planners have adopted the technologies of the day. Gothic cathedrals, for example, were technological wonders. Even periods that looked backwards, such as the Renaissance, celebrated technological advancements, such as Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome on the Florence Duomo. Prague is a city that proudly displays many architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classic, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Functionalism and contemporary. Yet in their time, each of these styles was new and controversial. The favorite building of Czechs, for example, the “traditional” Art Nouveau Obecini Dum, was extremely controversial in its time. Yet each of these styles, developed largely due to advances in technology, contributes to the richness that is Prague today.
Support the study of what has worked in the past, the application of principles gleaned from that study applied today and for the future, and the incorporation of those principles with the technologies, materials and methodologies available to us today. We reject the forced adaptation of those technologies, materials and methodologies to the sensibilities and aesthetics of the past when the principles neither support to require that adaptation.Prague, Czech Republic
Should a “green” home be forced to resemble a nineteenth century dwelling? Should all contemporary cities be forced to adopt the rigid geometries of the towns in which those nineteenth century dwellings were built? What of our Butterfly City in Apahae-do Korea, designed based on planning principles largely shared by New Urbanists, yet beautifully and metaphorically shaped? What of Daniel Liebeskind’s recent design for Seoul, which, while arguably lacking public plazas, is beautifully massed and creates outstanding pedestrian streets? What, for that matter, of Prague, Rome or Siena, none of which were built on any sort of grid?Seoul City, Korea by Daniel Libeskind
We believe in an architecture that celebrates today’s culture, today’s lifestyle, today’s technologies while incorporating the principles developed over centuries of design and planning. There is no need to reject one or the other.