Designing the Modern City: Urban Design, Team 10 and Metabolism After 1953 – Eric Mumford

Urban Design

The first reading of this week is about urban design. The reading generally explained different approaches for urban design, and I would like to mention about those design approaches in a brief manner that I understood.

The first thing that is explained in the reading was about centralization, decentralization and the approaches for those topics. Centralization of the city has an impact on the urban design however North American cities in general were beginning to decentralize in the mid-1950s. Eliel Saarinen who use the term Urban Design occasionally had been introduced a term which is ‘organic decentralization’.  By organic decentralization, he means that the auto-scale focused cities with plazas to accommodate pedestrian movement and greenbelts that would work together with transportation.  Joseph Lluis Sert whom is a president of CIAM during the time between 1947-56, was a favor of related ideas and explained them in his essay ‘The Human Scale in City Planning.’ He developed what Saarinen had begun at Cranbrook, put a new emphasis on existing pedestrian cities, Sert aimed to retain the main values of CIAM. Another point that I would like to mention about the part that explained the idea about patios. Wiener and Sert They tried to emphasis that the enclosed courtyard which is patio can be used in various scale and form in a city planning.

Jaqueline Tyrwhitt who was an English planner and CIAM organizer is another person that is discussed through the reading. She generally focused on the idea ‘habitat for the greater number.’

One of the most influential presentations in Harvard in 1956 was Gruen’s approach. It was about pedestrianize the downtown of the Fort Worth. His plan had linked the central business a with neighboring parking areas that would link the district to highways and with underground vehicular system deliveries would have handled.

Team 10 and Its Contexts, 1954-81

A youth generation of CIAM who had opposite ideas from Walter Gropius’s prefabrication and American-based post-war ideas formed a new community which named as Team 10. This part of the book introduces the Team 10 and its aims about urban design. I try to explain their approaches briefly.

Van Eyck who is one of the members of Team 10 suggested that the core may have validity as a place where people could express “spontaneous feelings” and he questioned Sert’s efforts to fit this concept within the CIAM framework.

Another point that I would like to mention is Doorn Manifesto of Team 10 in 1954. With this manifesto, Team 10 rejected the 4 functions-based urban design of CIAM. ‘Human association’ is analyzed instead of the four functions.

One main common point for both Team 10 and CIAM was sharing the idea that urbanism was a global practice and between architecture and city planning there should be no border line.


Japanese Metabolism, Circa 1960

After World War II, Japan began to develop a link between US and East Asia. In 1960s, Japan began to establish itself as a new national identity as an international center of design and industry.

Kenzo Tange and a group of Japanese architects observed the city to be always adaptable to the change of population, a city as a living organism.  They issued a bilingual pamphlet which is called as Metabolism/1960: The Proposals for New Urbanism.

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