I enjoyed presenting this brief lecture at the 24th Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) on the panel discussion “Architecture of Urbanism,” along with panelists Vinayak Bharne, Gary Brewer, Ellen Dunham-Jones, John Massengale, Steve Mouzon, Stefanos Polyzoides, Dan Solomon, Paddy Steinschneider, Galina Tachieva, and Samir Younés.
The panelists examined the specific means by which architecture, one building at a time, forms the urbanism of a place. The issue of the role of architecture and architectural style and character has been a long-running debate in the CNU.
The Congress for the New Urbanism is an international nonprofit organization working to build vibrant communities where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, and get around. For more information see www.cnu.org.
Next week, I am honored to be presenting a lecture at the Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Humanismo being held at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in conjunction with the Premio Rafael Manzano Martos. I will be presenting the rationale and work of our new center, CARTA, and my thoughts on the role of place, particularly in the American West. An excerpt from the catalog accompanying the symposium follows the break below, the full text of which may be downloaded by clicking HERE.
Denver’s Larimer Square.
As America rebounds from the Great Recession of 2008, cities such as Denver, Seattle, and Portland are experiencing rapid growth, in both city-center infill projects and expanding suburban development. This building boom, driven as much by demand for new housing and commercial space as it is by capitalism, is unfortunately characterized by buildings that all too often lack durability, sustainability, and beauty. Many of the buildings being built, especially in historic neighborhoods, have nothing in common with their contexts.
“A place is not a place until people have been born in it, have grown up in it, lived in it, known it, died in it – have both experienced and shaped it, as individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities, over more than one generation.”– Wallace Stegner, The Sense of Place, 1992
Through my windshield I watch the sinuous River Road fade into gray as a summer storm lets loose its rains on waving fields of sugar cane. Here in southern Louisiana, driving between Laura and Oak Alley plantations on a sultry August afternoon, I am reminded of how powerful and precious place is to who we are and how we live.