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The Journal of the School of Architecture

University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign


No. 6
Spring 1989
Board of Editors Reflections is a journal dedicated to theory
(1987-88 Academic Year) and criticism. The Board of Editors of
Reflections welcomes unsolicited contribu-
R. Alan Forrester, Director
tions. All submissions will be reviewed by the
School of Architecture
Board of Editors. Authors take full responsi-
bility for securing required consents and
Johann Albrecht, Chairman releases and for the authenticity of their
Ronald Schmitt, Acting Chairman articles.

Paul J. Armstrong, Managing Editor

Address all correspondence to:
Botond Bognar
Vladimir Krstic The Journal of the School of Architecture
Henry S. Plummer University of Illinois
Robert I. Selby atUrbana-Champaign
608 E. Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(1988-89 Academic Year)
R. Alan Forrester, Director
Ingvar Schousboe, Acting Director
School of Architecture

Ronald Schmitt, Chairman

Paul J. Armstrong, Managing Editor
Robert I. Selby

Copy Editor
Carol Betts

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School of Architecture Publications Office
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1989 by Reflection (ri flek shen) n. 1.) The act of

The Board of Trustees of the

casting back from a surface. 2) To happen as
a result of something. 3.) Something that
University of Illinois
exists dependently of all other things and
Printed in the United States of America from which all other things derive. 4.) To look
at something carefully so as to understand
ISSN: 07399448 the meaning.

Lance M. Neckar The Park: 4

Prospect and Refuge

Paul J. Armstrong The Allegory of the Garden: 14

The Garden as Symbol in the Art
and Architecture in the
Age of Humanism

Julia W. Robinson Architecture as Cultural Artifact: 26

Conception, Perception (Deception?)

Dragos Patrascu Urban Proportions 32

Michael Brill Transformation, Nostalgia 48

and About Public
Illusion Life and
Public Environments

James W. Shields The Building as VUlage

Wojciech Lesnikowski On Sjrmbolism of Memories

and Ruins

Farouk Self Monuments in the Realm

Folke Nyberg of Memory

Wayne M. Chamey Et in Arcadia Ego:

The Place of Memorials in
Contemporary America

The School of Architecture would like to

thank Richard R. Knorr for the contribution
of his drawings to this issue of Reflections.

The Park: Prospect and Refuge

Lance M. Neckar Even today, Webster's first definition of park prospect for the hunter than refuge for the
University of Minnesota refers to an "enclosed piece of ground." prey, is a forerunner of the contemporary
stocked with animals and used at the or, at least, the nineteenth-century park.
pleasure of the monarch for recreation in the
form of hunting. Geographer Jay Appleton In baroque France the design and
notes that there are many kinds of development of the great hunting chateaux
recreational activity or sport which bring us added another component characteristic of
close "to the primitive habitat situation the park, namely, enclosure.The chateau at
world of pursuing, of escaping, of hiding, and Chambord comprised 13,600 acres of wood
seeking."' As Appleton demonstrates, the through which were cut linear rides or drives.
vocabulary of the hunt is replete with Even this very large space was enclosed by a
allusions to prospect and refuge symbolism; twenty-mile-long wall at the perimeter, the
for example, "view," "covert," "going to longest wall of its sort in France. Chambord
ground." Hunting is an activity of was built for Francois 1 in 1519 and remained
apprehending without being apprehended. the favored hunting retreat of the French
Both hunter and quarry are engaged in the kings through the reign of Louis XIII, who
activity to varying degrees and the landscape also enjoyed hunting there and at another

must be specifically responsive to the royal hunting estate, Versailles. Versailles

requirements of prospect and refuge. It must had been reconstructed from a castellated
open and close: either the topography must manor in the 1630s under the direction of
vary, or there must be "structure" which LouisXIll. Hisson, Louis XIV, began in 1661
provides a view from above or below. the immense reconstruction and additions to
the site which we see in part today and which
The iconography of hunting and hunting originally included more than 35,000 acres.
grounds is as ancient as Lascaux, but for There is a dramatic scale even to what
purposes of a description of the form of the scholars have called the Petit Pare. These
park, a pragmatic beginning might be made incredibly grandiose gardens that lie near the
with a rather well-known painting from about main palace and the Trianons, combined
1420 which depicts The Hunt in the Wood. with the forests, cut-through by allees which
Painted by Uccello, the image is one of radiate from the Etoile Royale. give a reduced
wealthy, young Florentines on horseback sense of the original hunting park. This near
and their servants on foot following dogs and approximation of infinity may have been so
deer into an incredible landscape where all of large that a continuous fence was
the trees, regardless of their position in the unnecessary.
scene, are nearly equally illuminated and
where the ground below the canopy is nearly Survival and hazard are explicit, perhaps, in
open. This civilized forest, which offers more hunting. The penalties for ignoring hazard
Thomas Cole's "Valley qfVaucluse" (1841) depicts a ruined castle high above the habitable landscape below. This
Picturesque landscape and others of the Hudson River School became iconographic sources for American Landscape
landscape designers. A literal interpretation is seen in the tower at Mount Auburji Cemetery in Cambridge.
Massachusetts. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
This ambivalence possibly was a foreshadow-
ing of the widespread use of the fosse, the ha-
ha. and other variations on the sunken fence.
As LeNotre had created for Louis XTV the
illusion of an infinite hegemony, the English
landscape designers of the eighteenth cen-
tury created, or attempted to create, the
illusion of nature unbounded, an earthly
paradise very much enclosed. Burke's in-
quiry into the oppositional concepts of the
Sublime and the Beautiful established the
One of the great drives that departs from an etoile spectrum of landscape expression available
at Versailles, typical of the stellate schemes of
to the painter and designer. The Sublime
FYench hunting parks, (author)
denoted the contrast of dark and light and

are great.As Appleton has suggested, emotional aspects of terror and escape asso-
recreational activities and their hazards ciated with the landscape of wild nature, of
derived from hunting become abstracted, as the hunt. The dual quality of dark and light
in the playing of golf, or vicarious, as in the was explicit: bosques, groves, grottoes dark
attribution to a landscape of prospect and
spaces must be balanced by the light. The
refuge the characteristics of wild nature. It light entered when wall and canopy opened.

was the character of the abstraction its One could see in the meadow, but one was
depth and form which occupied the minds also vulnerable to being seen. Topography in

of the eighteenth-century theorists and the form of great cataracts from which fell

creators of the English park. Alexander cascading volumes of water offered prospect
Pope's Essay On Criticism (1711) is widely and refuge by the difficulty of their
cited as an early inspiration because of the attainment, by their defiance of gravity, and
homage it paid to "Nature, at once the source by the noise which erased all other noises and
and end and test of Art." While Joseph impaired the other senses. Gravity was both
Addison seemed to encourage the notion of a friend and foe. The view to the space below
larger garden estate of park-like proportions, afforded advantages. Yet even here, at this
it was left to Stephen Switzer to attempt to prospect, there was hazard. One may fall

delineate the further aspects of its layout in from a great height. The precipice becomes a
The Nobleman's Gentleman's and Gardener's cul-de-sac should the quarry surprise the
Recreation (1715), which was later expanded hunter and propel him to certain death. For
under the title Ichnographia Rustica. Switzer Burke and his contemporaries one appre-
himself was ambivalent about the purposes hends that such spaces were not desirable as
of this garden in the grand manner, and his places of dwelling. Frederick Law Olmsted, in
text was littered with what Hussey calls his Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in
"polarities" expressive of both pleasure and England (1859), confirmed this supposition
utility.^As Hussey notes, Switzer never used in a comparison he drew to American land-

the term "landscape garden." His work was scape: 'The sublime ... in nature is much
best represented by the sort of larger- scale more rare in England, except on the sea
scheme seen at Castle Howard, c. 1701. coast, than in America. But there is every-
wherein lay the Wraywood, possibly of where a great deal of quiet, graceful beauty
Switzer's design. The question of enclosure which the works of man have added to. ."^
. .

was even less directly addressed: How could

Nature, writ large, be enclosed? Switzer Beauty, the Beautiful, was indeed at the
confused the issue with suggestions of other end of the spectrum. A highly
incorporating the larger landscape in the abstracted imitation of nature, the Beautiful
distance without actually resolving the issue presented an entirely vicarious manner of
of enclosure necessary to maintain the park recreation. The English landscape was more
as the place of either agriculture or hunting. rugged than that of the great allee-lined
hunting parks of baroque France, but the
premises of the Beautiful in the English
landscape nonetheless dictated a softening
and control landscape, an
of the
improvement of nature. Danger and hazard
were allegorically presented in the famous
stroll garden park at Stourhead created by
the banker Henr\- Hoare. One descended to
the underworld with Aeneas and entered the
grotto. The darkness of the grotto was merely
a shadow of real terror with only abstracted
punishment: one walked on. unhindered, to
the Pantheon ascending to earth and finally
beyond. Attention was paid to darkness and
lightness in the placement and ts-pe of
vegetation, but on the whole, the landscape
was en\-isioned as a series of gently rounded
forms which, when composed, looked like
paintings after Claude Lorrain freeze-
frame images from a cinematic narrative.

The eighteenth-centun- English park as real-

ized by the proponents of the Beautiful
especially William Kent. Capability Browii.
and later Humphiy- Repton was roundly
criticized by Sir Uvedale Price and Richard
Payne Knight. Coincidentally. in the same
year. 1794. both Price, in essay form, and
Knight, in an extended poem, lashed out at
the feminine, overly improved pastorals of the
Brownian tradition. They ofTered. instead,
the \1sion of nature unimproved, of \igorous
landforms. rough oaks and conifers, and
rushing water. This Picturesque \1sion was a
landscape which restored some aspects of
nature's real unabstracted challenges.

Vxc paired images oj Picniresquc aiid lirownian

Pa\aie Knight's poem is a cutting satire on the
nature in Riclinni Payne Knights poem TTif
round Browiiian landscape, but Prices work. Landscape' 1 794) were among the earliest graphic

An Essay on the Picturesque as Compared to representations of the ideas qflandscape tinted by

the Sublime irt contradistinction to popular aes-
the Sublime and the Beautiful, is a treatise in thetic of pastoral beauty, (from the book)
the same serious vein as Burke's Inquini. On
the first page Price reveals his point of \iew in
regard to the private peirks of England:
"Formerly the embellishments of a place were
confined to the garden, or a small space near
the mansion: while the park, with all its

timber and thickets, was left in a state of

wealthy neglect, but now these embellish-
ments extend over a whole district: and as
they give a new and peculiar character to the
general face of the countiy, it is well worth

beautiful one.and whether the present sys- landscape to be aesthetically inferior to the
tem of improving (to use a short though often possibility of improvement at the hands of
an inaccurate term) is founded on any just aristocratic landowners and their designated
principles of taste. creators of the park. The Enclosure Acts were
literal in their intent. They were meant to
Price postulated several critical ideas about enclose lands for the recreational and agri-
landscape. He was, in fact, interested in the cultural purposes of their owners.
study of pictures, i.e., landscape painting,
although his first Interest was the study of William Wyndham, one of Repton's admirers,
nature, for, like many of his contemporaries, confirmed the notion of the habitable park in
his principle preoccupation was the distinct an enthusiastic if incoherent letter to the
expressions of nature in landscape. Echoing landscape designer. He believed, perhaps
Burke, he noted that the term Beautiful was erroneously, that the Picturesque concepts
much abused in both word and deed, and advocated by Price and Knight were only
that the Sublime implied a vast and terrible about the making of landscapes derived
scale and, in certain cases, a monotonous from, or suitable for, pictures. He wrote:
uniformity. Price maintained then that there
is a distinct expression of landscape that "... the instance of an extensive prospect, the
conforms to no demands of scale and that most affecting sight that the eye can bring
"corrects the languor of beauty . . . the horror before us, is quite conclusive. I do not know
of sublimity."^ He wrote: "I am therefore anything that does ... so strongly affect the
persuaded that the two opposite qualities of mind, as the sudden transition from such a
roughness, and of sudden variation, joined to portion of space as we may commonly have in
that of irregularity, are the most efficient our minds, to such a view of the habitable
causes of the picturesque. ""^ globe asmay be exhibited in the case of some
extensive prospects. Many things too, as you
Price placed great emphasis on the tempering Illustrate well in the instance of deer, are not
passage of time and the nemesis of change as capable of representation in a picture at all.

they related to the Picturesque: 'The limbs of . . . the beauties of nature itself . . . which
huge trees, shattered by lightning or tempes- painting can exhibit, are many, and most of
tuous winds, are in the highest degree pictur- them probably of a sort which have nothing to
esque; but what has caused those dreaded do with habitation. ... A scene of a cavern,
powers of destruction must always have a with banditti sitting by it, is a favourite
tincture of the sublime."^ subject by Salvator Rosa; but are we
therefore to live in caves, or encourage the
The pleas for the Picturesque seem to have neighborhood of banditti?"*
gone largely unheeded in the design of
English parks, private and public. In fact, the In a letter of 1794, Repton expressed his
whole momentum of the English landscape opinion of the value of the prospect, which he
movement had coursed in the opposite distinguished from landscape, the former
direction and in the hands of Repton, John being: "the proper subject of the painter and
Nash, John Claudius Lx)udon, and Joseph the latter is that in which everybody delights;
Paxton would continue to soften the park. and in spite of the fastidiousness of
This aesthetic evolution the greater connoisseurshlp, we must allow something
abstraction of the landscape of the hunt for the general voice of mankind."''

was also built on a recreational policy which

obliterated the Picturesque. The private and These Reptonlan ideas of habitablllty and
Parliamentary Enclosure Acts created the practicality were greatly furthered and
English landscape park as much as the extended in the early-nlneteenth-century
paintings of Claude Lorrain. the writings of works of Nash, Loudon, and Paxton. Nash
Pope and Addison, or the actual designers. was the author of plans for Regent's Park (c.

These acts judged the open English 1811), a private residential park, and St.

landscape and the villages amid that James Park ( 1 828). a crown park intended for
public use, wherein the principal effect was archery grounds, drives, and sheep mead-
made by the creation of a romantic winding ows. It was designed to be used by all. In
lake which, when bridged, yielded a Birkenhead the park was reactivated by
magnificent prospect of St. James Palace. Paxton; it remained essentially Reptonian in
Although St. James Park is outside the his- form, but its public and active aspects were
toric public park movement (it was owned by revolutionary signals that genteel abstrac-
the crown), as Chadwick notes, it was, in fact, tion was not the chief measure of park-
the first to open to the public.'" The public making.
was not admitted to Regent's Park until 1 838;
it was necessary to be a man of fortune to In the country of the revolution, the United
enter the early parks since the only recrea- States, in this period there were no such
tion to be had there was riding. No walkways public parks. There were squares, unim-
or shelter were available to the pedestrian, proved commons, and other public gardens,
but no longer was the hunt the principal but no large-scale parks. Recreation was
focus of park-making. sought at the edges of urbanization where
there was an ample wilderness in the early
Loudon mollified nature further with his nineteenth century. In his recent book. The
Gardenesque approach to landscape. In fact, New Urban Landscape: The Redefinition of
Lxjudon focused his work on the garden scale. City Forni in Nineteenth-Century America.
In 1831, he executed one of his larger David Schuyler has painted a rich picture of
commissions, a 16-acre "public" garden at the intellectual climate in America which
Birmingham for the Botanical and gave rise to the public-park movements in
Horticultural Society. The site was organized New York and elsewhere in the 1840s and
by a series of curvilinearly disposed 1850s. He has properly noted that the mere
promenades. The central feature of the existence of European public parks "touched
design was a large, circular glass house. Here a sensitive nerve among American Lead-
the abstraction and vicarious quality of "the ers."' '
Andrew Jackson Downing and others
park" was extended to capturing exotic praised the reformist intentions of the park
landscape under glass where it could be held as a means of promoting a more "fraternal
for the view of the public a kind of botanical spirit" among all classes of American soci-
menagerie. The peril was not present: only ety. ' ^ Recognizing the actual caste barriers of
the captured quarry could testify to the our industrialized nation, these travelers
danger. For the non-riding public, walking reported in astonishment the democratic
became the principal recreational activity of scenes they witnessed amid the stratified
the age. Paradise on earth in Lx)udon"s time society of the old world. Nature, it was
was a stroll through a glass house in which believed, would elevate the pursuits and
the polychrome trophies of the "hunt" were interests of those who would be attracted to
mounted. its contemplation in the parks. The question
at that time was, what sort of nature? Was it
Paxton, also of glass-house fame, created a the nature that could be abstracted on a 16-
design for Birkenhead Park (1844-45) in or 125-acre site such as those developed by
Liverpool which is much acclaimed as a Loudon and Paxton in England or, as it

seminal source for Frederick Law Olmsted's happened, a nature writ in the larger forms of
work on Central Park. The formal aspects of the American landscape?
the park give little hint of the American work
to come; the perimeter of the park was, in Schuyler and others have been correct in
fact, bounded by a curvilinear drive lined pointing to the rural cemetery movement
with terraces and villas. It was the social idea and, specifically, the development of Mt.

of the park its expressed and democratic Auburn (1831) on a 72-acre site in

intent which particularly moved Olmsted Cambridge, Massachusetts, as an important
when he visited the 125-acre park in 1850. precursor to the park. A far-sighted group of
Here there was not only pastoral gardening of men in Boston, led by a physician, Jacob
the highest order, but also a cricket field. Bigelow, sought to provide this singular place
of recreation. The site was symbolically United States. However, further measures
named for the deserted village in the Oliver were needed. In 1844 and 1845, William
Goldsmith poem decrying the Enclosure Cullen Bryant's editorials in the New York
Movement. The design of Mt. Auburn by Evening Post testified to the need for a public
Alexander Wadsworth and H. A. S. Dearborn park and duly praised the English examples.
in concert with their clients constituted a By 1848, Downing had clarified to readers of
richly layered landscape which retained his magazine. The Horticulturist, that the
elements of the English park but was also French and the Germans had already
curiously American in its Picturesque surpassed America in the creation of public
aspects. When it was begun, there were (and private) parks. In 1850-51, after visiting
probably but a handful of important England, he wrote several letters in his
American landscape paintings in the magazine exhorting New Yorkers to take
Picturesque style of the Hudson River School. action. August 1851, Downing's lead
However, as the somewhat miniaturized article, 'The New-York Park," emphatically

landscape of the cemetery evolved in the expressed the need for a large recreational
1840s, the canvases of Thomas Cole and
space five hundred acres being a minimum
Asher B. Durand certainly must have been size in his view.'^ In epistolary form, he
known to the designers. Specific scenes may outlined the site that he proposed in the
have been called to mind. The castellated center of Manhattan, from 39th Street to the
tower atop Auburn's Mount is a smaller Harlem River. Two years later, the process
evocation of Cole's "Valley of Vaucluse" was set in motion by an act of the state
(1841); and the hilly terrain of the site with its legislature authorizing the city of New York to
gothic chapel and monuments recalls take the site which stretched from 59th to
Durand's 'The Evening of Life" (1840), one of 106th Street.
a series of canvases on the cyclical pattern of

life and death. The narrative of the famous design

competition need not be repeated here. More
Mt. Auburn was no mere painterly burying interesting is Olmsted's conceptual basis for

ground. Bigelow and his cohorts conceived of the winning design, "Greensward," which
the space as a series of landscape rooms embodied a combination of soft, Reptonian,
designed to portray the passage of and life pastoral spaces bounded by Picturesque

death and life again each spring and edges, the latter being inherent in the rough
simultaneously to display and test plant site. The strong edges lent, originally, a
material appropriate to that mood, powerful sense of visual enclosure to the
scientifically, as in an arboretum. scheme. This conceptual basis, which
Intimations of paradise and lessons of combined the pastoral (i.e., the Beautiful)
horticulture were conjoined. The topography and the Picturesque, was given lengthy
of the site was in some places quite articulation by Olmsted and Vaux in their
demanding. It was used to effect. At Mt. 1858 report on the park, wherein they
Auburn, the prospect was gained by the price described the difficulty of adjusting pastoral
of exertion. The realization of the scheme scenery to "the various elements of natural
presented a physical, emotional, and topography" on the slte.'^ The motivations
intellectual challenge to the pedestrian who for this scheme are attributable in a large
would traverse the entire cemetery to the degree to Olmsted's concept of park, which
heights of the mount, pause to reflect on was greatly informed by his walking trip to

mortality and immortality, and climb the England and Wales in 1850.
steps to the top of the castle to gain the
prospect. Well known, perhaps, are Olmsted's
remarks, alluded to earlier, about the
The arboretum-cemetery at Mt. Auburn was democratic intentions of Birkenhead, which
also well conceived as a landscape bench- he toured, almost by chance, immediately
mark of advancing urbanization in the upon his arrival. Here, and later at Hereford,
The weeping beech treei, in Mount Auburn Cemetery speak ofgnefand mourning hut because Iheij are alwe,
also speak of rebirth oj re creation They add extra layers of meaning to a (and scape oj propped and reluqe.

Olmsted focused on the social precepts of deer. . . still more when one, two. or three

public open space. The spatial expression of [deer], which had been separated from a
park was amplified, however, in his commen- nearer herd, suddenly started, and dashed
tary on the private parks that he visited, wildly by us, within pistol shot."'' This
either alone or with his traveling compan- paragraph was followed by a conversation
ions, John Hull Olmsted, his younger among the travelers recalling hunting of fal-

brother, and Charles Loring Brace, a lifelong low deer, small European deer, in Maine.
friend. At Powis Castle in Wales, walking While Olmsted was unable to reconcile the
alone, he was turned back from the summit socialmessages of the private park the
of "a picturesque mountain-side park" by the abundance of game, for example, which
owner's bull mastiff. '
^ At Eaton Park, with would never reach the tenants' plates with
his traveling companions, he had greater his aesthetic appreciation, the visual and
success. They tramped for some miles over emotional potency of the English park be-
undistinguished territory to find "a gently came, paradoxically, a powerful tool of his
undulating landscape of close-cropped pas- own democratic vision. The landscape of
ture land, reaching way off illimitably. . . . pastoral and rough picturesqueness, of pros-
Herds of fallow deer, fawns, cattle, sheep, and pect and refuge, would be enclosed at the
lambs quietly feeding near us, and moving boundary to preserve its democratic
slowly in masses at a distance: a warm at- intention. No special privilege was to be given
mosphere, descending sun, and sublime to the owners of adjoining property: the space
shadows from fleecy clouds transiently dark- of the recreation within would be the province
ening in succession, sunny surface, cool of all.

woodside, flocks and herds, and foilage.""'

Two paragraphs later he noted: "We con- Today, the dark side of the landscape of the
cluded that the sheep and cattle were of the hunt is that the large park is, or is perceived
most value for their effect in the landscape: to be, dangerous. The landscape of prospect
but it was a little exciting to us to watch the and refuge can be the landscape of assault

and banditti. The park is a diurnal space, Notes

and always has been. But there has always 1 Appleton. p. 184.

been implicit danger in the space of the park.

At times, usually after dark, the danger 2 Hussey, p. 34.

becomes real. At night the spatial definitions

of prospect and refuge are blurred. What was 3 Olmsted, p. 263.
by day a glorious meadow for sport by night
becomes a space where we might or might not 4 Price, p. 1.

be seen. Certainly, the wood at the edge,

which might be the daytime setting of 5 ibid., p. 86.
children's cinematically inspired mock
warfare, by dusk is a covert for the hunter of 6 ibid., p. 44.
the night. In the past, the nighttime
landscape of the hunt gave the advantage of 7 ibid., p. 56.
covert to the prey; a foolish hunter caught in
the park at night could find the roles 8 Loudon, p. 115.
reversed. There is little difference today.
9 ibid., p. 108.

Withal, the value of the park as a landscape

is widely shared. The restoration of Central 10 Chadwlck, p. 34.

Park and the devotion of New Yorkers to their

park is one testimonial to the durability of the 1 Schuyler, p. 64.

basic convention. In the search for new,

generally vicarious forms of recreation, the 12 ibid., p. 65.
park has also been further miniaturized,
adapted, and reinterpreted, as vestpocket 13 Olmsted Forty Years of Landscape Archi-
parks, neighborhood parks, suburbs, and tecture, p. 27.

playgrounds. In the past, the Picturesque

landscapes of the Hudson River School were 14 ibid., p. 46.
the "flashcards" by which Americans created
the park. The park and the Picturesque were 15 Olmsted Walks and Talks, p. 184.
nearly indistinguishable. The park was and
is a landscape of prospect and refuge; the 16 ibid., p. 114.
Picturesque has provided a convenient
wellspring of ideas for the creation of 17 ibid., p. 115.
prospect and refuge in many American
landscapes. At least one observer has, 18 Howett. p. 11.

however, recently questioned the durability

of the Picturesque as a source of landscape References
design in our time.'" Perhaps it is not so Appleton, Jay The Experience oj Landscape
much that the Picturesque has failed as a Wiley (London) 1975.
vision, but that we have failed to understand
its essential ideas and their relationship to Chadwick, George F. The Park and the Town
American landscape. It is also possible that Prager (New York) 1966.
we have lost sight of the essential notions of

park as an abstracted landscape of the Clark,Kenneth Landscape Into Art Harper

hunt an enclosed space of prospect and and Row (New York) 1979.
refuge. The enlightened exploration of the
distinct concepts of Picturesque landscape Howett, Catherine "Systems, Signs. Sensi-
and park may yet offer the sustenance that is bilities: Sources for a New Landscape
the fortunate product of the hunt. Aesthetic" Landscape Journal 6:1, Spring
Hubbard. Henry V.. and Kimball, Theodora
Landscape Design Hubbard Educational
Trust (Boston) 1967.

Hussey. Christopher English Gardens and

Landscapes. 1700-1750 Country Life Ltd.

(London) 1967.

Loudon, John Claudius, ed. The Landscape

Gardening of Humphry Repton Longman
(London) 1840.

Olmsted, Frederick Law Forty Years of

Landscape Architecture: Central Park MIT
Press (Cambridge, Mass.) 1973.

Olmsted, Frederick Law Walks and Talks of

An American Farmer in England Jos. H. Riley
(Columbus, Ohio) 1859.

Price, Uvedale An Essay on the Picturesque,

as Compared with the Sublime and the
BeautifulJ. Robson (London) 1794.

Schuyler, David TheNew Urban Landscape

Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore)
The Allegory of the Garden:
The Garden as Symbol in the Art and Architecture
in the Age of Humanism

Paul Armstrong And to/ The gesdin [tree] shining clutching hands as if unable to contemplate
University of Illinois stands hisown guilt of the horror before him, his
at Urbana-Champaign ^^^ ^^^^^, branches in the golden mouth contorted, the muscles of his
sands. abdomen convulsed, his limbs shivering.
In the immortal garden stands the Eve. her hands assisting the leaves that hide
tree: her nakedness, opens her mouth in a cry of
With trunk of gold, and beautiful to see. despair. Superficially the drama has been
Beside a sacred font the tree is reduced to its essential elements two
placed. naked, suffering humans striding out into
With emeralds and unknown gems is the cold. No more is necessary. Yet one
graced. senses beyond it the greater tragedy of
Epic ofGilgamesh exclusion from God and from the Christian
community, whose rites and rules are
In the Brancacci Chapel in Florence the celebrated in the other frescoes."'
human pathos of the Fall of Man from
supernatural grace is retold with exquisite The biblical Eden of the Old Testament was
passion and sensitivity in one of the great an earthly paradise which rivaled the remote
masterpieces of the Quattrocento. and unattainable celestial abode of God. In
Masaccio's Expulsion, painted in 1425. illus- the Greek translation of the Old Testament
trates the Fall not simply as a stylized narra- the word paradeisos is used for "garden."
tive of the familiar Genesis story, but, most Thus paradise became identified with the
significantly, as an allegory of the human Garden of Eden. The Hebrews derived pardes
condition the alienation of man from the (meaning "garden") during their Babylonian
supernatural and from nature itself: a pas- captivity. The English word paradise is a
sage from innocence to experience. Adam translation of the Old Persian pairidaeza
and Eve are no longer merely figures in a ("walled garden"), from the Latin paradisus.
medieval morality play, but, for the first time which was derived from the Greek essayist/
in Western art. are shown to be corporeal historian Xenophon in 40 1 B.C. Xenophon's
human beings locked into a universal drama writings were believed to have inspired Virgil
of mortal despair. Frederick Hartt has de- to plant a paradisus or enclosed Persian-style
scribed the scene: garden with groves of trees about a Roman
"... a calm celestial messenger hovers above
the rudimentary gate, holding a sword in his A mystical feeling for flowers and a love for
right hand and pointing with his left to the gardens were considered ancient Persian
barren world outside Eden. Adam moves characteristics. The oldest Persian garden
forth at the angel's bidding as if driven by a was built by Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae
spiritual force. He hides his eyes with more than 2,500 years ago, in about 546 B.C.
Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights. Prado. Madrid.

Only a schematic representation of the philosophers owned gardens adorned with

original garden is possible; however, it is classical features which included shrines to
known that the gardenwas designed to the muses (a rocky grotto or nympheurti
complement buildings and served to unite watered by a fountain or spring), shady
the official and residential palaces. Its porticoes for sculpture display, and tree-
essential elements included a geometric plan lined walks.
defined by a carved stone watercourse and
trees and shrubs planted symmetrically in Like the royal garden of Cyrus at Pasargadae,
plots. On raised rectangular platforms of the Roman garden was attached to a villa and
dressed stone stood two pavilions within the enclosed with courtyards and colonnades.
garden. Each building had columned The garden as a place of inspiration and
porticoes and consisted of one room with repose was unknown to the pragmatic
thick walls of mud brick. This design Roman world until the second century B.C.
remained the prototype for garden pavilions when the influence of the Hellenistic world
for centuries. began to penetrate Roman society. The early
religious associations of the garden as a
Greek culture and the concept of the garden sacred grove dedicated to a god or goddess or
as described in Xenophon's writings spread surrounding a tomb were eventually replaced
throughout the eastern Mediterranean and by artistic and social ones. Although the
far beyond with the conquests of Alexander of component parts remained the same, the
Macedonia. The curious plants that small temples, grottoes, and nympheums
Alexander's officers discovered on their originally dedicated to the muses and
oriental campaigns inspired the famous tutelary deitiesnow served as architectural
botanical garden, Aristotle's Lyceum at ornaments. An innovative feature common
Athens. The association between philosophy to Roman and Renaissance gardens was the
and gardens was created at the School of incorporation of topia. reliefs and paintings
Athens where Plato taught in the tree- portraying garden architecture in a pictur-
planted gymnasium of the Academy. Later esque setting of rugged mountains and sea-
side cliffs, or on shores of lakes and rivers, At the early-ninth-century Benedictine
which were used to decorate walls of monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland, plants
porticoes bringing the gardens themselves were grown in rectangular beds, each one
right into buildings. usually reserved for a separate species.
These were further divided into garden
In Italian Gardens Georgina Masson writes simples, which included roses, lilies, gladioli,

that the particular interest of the Pompeian and scented herbs such as rue, rosemary,
gardens^ of antiquity lies in the fact that even and sage; and vegetable gardens, which
in a small space they contained many of the included leeks, lettuces, garlic, parsley,
features of later Roman gardens from which and poppies, the seeds of which were

those of the Renaissance drew their used for flavoring. An orchard, which also
inspiration. Two of the most important served as the cemetery, included pears,
features in this respect are the interpretation plums, mulberries, and fig and nut trees. In

of the house and the garden and the axial medieval Sicily, the secular pleasure gardens
planning. The main living-room usually of the Saracen emirs and Norman kings first

opened into the courtyard on one side of the made their appearance: part garden, part

axis and the garden from the center of the hunting enclosure, these "pleasure parks"
house. A painted garden perspective, were modeled on the oriental paradises.
complete with trees, fountains, and trellises Although their effect on subsequent garden
upon the wall at the far end, prolonged this development in Italy was small, they did serve
view even farther. This type of trompe I'oeil to keep alive the tradition of the pleasure

painting was employed in porticoes and garden.''

peristyles to give a feeling of greater space

and, like the Greek topia. seemed to bring the The first man of modem times to envisage the
out-of-doors right into the house. garden as a proper setting for the poet and
man of learning as in the ancient world was
The gardens of the Middle Ages were small Petrarch, in the fourteenth century. In the

cloisters sheltered within the walls of castles following century, Plato'sgymnasium of the
and cities. The feudal social system and the Academy in Athens inspired members of
constant turmoil and upheavals of the period Cosimo de' Medici's Platonic Academy to hold
dictated defensible walled cities of gatherings at his villa at Careggi. The study
concentrated population densities. of humane literae (classical literature and
Therefore, it was in the monasteries that the history) was the precursor of the humanist

tradition of the contemplative garden movement of the sixteenth century and

prevailed. When St. Augustine first inevitably ensured Florence's reputation as
assembled his followers in the African the cradle of the Renaissance. The
province of Hippo in a garden of a villa given humanists' aim was to recapture the spirit of

by his friend Valerius, he reinstated the the ancient world by perfecting the ideals of
Platonic tradition of teaching in a garden beauty and knowledge in the "complete man"
where one could seek peace and isolation of the Renaissance.

from the temptations of the outside world. He

also established a precedent, and monastic In the first half of the fifteenth century,

orders established themselves in the ruins of humanism gave new life and energy to the
Roman villas in Italy. The first monastic arts and inspired the new ideas around which
order in Western Europe was established by that energy was centered. In the second half
St. Benedict at the end of the fifth century in of the century, literature and art were adding
the grotto of the ruins of Nero's villa at to the interest in antique forms, a concern for
Subiaco. Thus the monastery cloister accurately depicting nature, which was
evolved from the colonnaded peristyle of the glorified as the archetype of human endeavor
Roman country house. The garden of the and the manifest handiwork of God.
Abbey of Cassino was described as "a However, the paths of literature and art were
paradise in the Roman fashion." beginning to diverge as painting and

sculpture were beginning to supplant between inner and outer realities were
literature means for the
as the primary blurred, and demons and apocalyptic forces
expression of the sublime and the acquisition were elements of everyday life. European
of fame. society in that era believed in a Wrath which
was forever on the verge of destroying the
"But if literature, for the most part, wove world. The Black Plague, the late battles of
attenuated tales about the love of life, but the Hundred Years' War. and the first
lacked any solid underpining of civic theory, onslaughts of the Turks contributed to an
artwas more concerned with synthesis and atmosphere of motiveless, spontaneous
imagination. It was thus a better vehicle for violence. "An order of things was becoming
man"s self-awareness and soon prevailed unraveled when Bosch was bom. (Bosch's
over other means of intellectual expression. birth coincided with the fall of
Man found himself, freed himself, as it were, Constantinople.) The savage security of
from supernatural forces. Proud of his feudalism had lain in a general
reconquered liberty and individuality, understanding that the system mirrored
enhanced with his own image, thirsting for indeed was an extension of^the order of
fame, and moved by a resurgent appreciation things in heaven.""
of beauty, he gave palpable, plastic form to
the creations of his mind."^ The malevolence of a world under siege and
the disquieting allusions of eternal
The Garden of Earthly Delights damnation are thinly veiled by the apparent
To fully appreciate the humanists' emerging tranquility and virtual utopianjoie de vivre of
world-view, one must turn to the the left and central panels of The Garden of
pictorialization of the Renaissance Earthly Delights. The left hand, or Eden.
landscape. Medieval painting is panel of the triptych depicts the Sixth Day of
characterized by a "fractional naturalism, the creation:
directed at the individual manifestations of
God's creations."'' In medieval art. landscape There are the new-made Adam and Eve In

elements were symbols whose usual function the foreground, naked and awestruck, with
was to clarify the narrative rather than create Jesus present in the ancient tradition of
an illusion of space. Masaccio's frescoes showing their creation as accomplished by
break with Gothic naturalism in their desire the Word of God. The trees around them are
of illusionistic coherency where space is ra- heavy with appetizing fruit; there is the
tionally defined, where light and atmosphere Fountain of Life beyond the trees . . . but the
fill that space, and where detail is sacrificed little pool by which Adam and Eve have
in the interests of generalization. By the end awakened is dark and stagnant, and seething
of the fifteenth century, the Renaissance with sinister life. The equivocal treatment
. . .

artist is able to fully realize the union between of this ominous paradise continues into the
figures and the world in which they dwell to background, to a curiously crab-like
convey a compeUing mood. Fountain of Life and the contorted rock
formations beyond. Twined around a
. . .

The differences between the tumultuous palm tree above the cave, the serpent looks on
uncertainty of the Middle Ages and the unobtrusively."^
idealized synthesis of beauty and nature of
the humanists' of the Renaissance can be Disconcerting imagery pervades the compo-
contrasted in two paintings executed not sition of each panel. The fountain itself is

more than a century apart, yet pivotal in their prominently decorated with the crescent
reflections of Western Europe at the moonalmost invariably a mark of the Devil,
threshold of a new era. Hieronjrmus Bosch's with its obvious associations with Islam and
The Garden ofEarthly Delights was painted in the Turk. Perhaps the most disquieting crea-
the late Middle Ages.'' a time of extreme ture of Bosch's bestiary is the owl which peers
contrasts and turmoil in which distinctions from within the circular base of the fountain.

The owl's unblinking gaze implied the disci- chines that torture them, the figures will be
pline and concentration of the alchemist, smaller still.

rather than the ascetic. Sacred to Athena,

the owlwas the bird of sorcerers and philoso- The chaotic fecundity of the garden of the
phers and symbolized the search for hidden central panel becomes hell on earth in the
understanding long before the Christian final, righthand scene. Bosch's hell is a
concept of Original Sin. visual slang, physical representations of the
popular beliefs that the damned souls are set
In Bosch's world, everything stood for to acting out forever and ever. Punishment
something truer than itself. The secret tends to fit the crime as gamblers, drinkers,
messages and allusions are always there and and lechers are recognized by their torments.

not always hidden folk images and symbols Frequently referred to as The Infernal
which seem to double back on themselves Concert," those who have, in a real sense,
like optical illusions. In The Garden of disrupted the harmony of the world are
Earthly Delights many of the standard crucified on harpstrings, impaled on wind
representations can be identified: the riders instruments, inside huge horns,
who ring the pool in the central panel are all drums, and
hurdy-gurdies in hell's
mounted on animals symbolizing lustful counterpart of a celestial choir. Menaced by
while the bathers luxuriate under the
vitality, gigantic instruments, knife-like war
eyes of the peacock of vanity, the crows of machines, and hybrid monsters, and set in a
unbelief, and the owl of forbidden wisdom. smokey landscape of sulfuric volcanos and
frozen waters, Bosch's hell is the
The primordial landscape of the Eden panel, transformation of the earthly paradise into
writh its oblique references of humanity's its diabolical counterpart the inevitable
sinister spring, evolves into the high summer consequence of man's unbridled folly. In the

incarnate of the orgiastic ecstasy of The end, all are symbols of sterility, transience,
Garden of Earthly Delights itself: and death.

"The landscape is insane with fecundity . . . Ultimately, Bosch's Garden of Earthly

pulpy vegetable castles, mongrels of cactus, Delights is a persuasive Christian allegory
pineapple, gourd, puffball . . . are where almost every object has some sort of
fermentation made flesh: their Impossible mystic meaning." Peter S. Beagle has re-
mazing anarchy of
vigor embodies the sweet, marked that, "Bosch was a pessimist before
this garden where there are no
rules, no he was anything else, and pessimism has
boundaries, while everything can couple only one orthodoxy, transcending all sects
fruitfully with everything else flower with and times. It is that the human fate is always
stone, animal with human, human with to dream of heaven and create hell, over and

water."' over, under many names, including

As the viewer scans the panels from left to
right, the garden's inhabitants appear to The Primavera
have grown smaller since Eden, in proportion If Bosch's tryptych illustrates the almost
to their surroundings. Adam and Eve appear fanatical religious freneticism of the Late
much larger than the swift miniature Middle Ages with its nightmarish horrors of a
monsters of the foreground pool, and on a world gone awry, it is diametrically opposed
generally human scale wdth the creatures to the Platonic tranquility and idyllic opti-

around the Fountain of Life. The sense of mism of Sandro Botticelli's Primavera of the
feverish sensual greed and of contradictory late fifteenth century.

delicacy is heightened by Bosch's treating

each individual figure like a miniature in the According to Umberto Baldini, for Botticelli
garden's graceful cacophony of erotic activ- the artistic "crisis" of the fifteenth century
ity. In hell, dwarfed by the macabre ma- entailed three primary concerns: the under-
Sandro Botticelli: Primavera, Ujjizi Gallery. Florence.

standing of space and perspective; the redefi- arts were poetry, sculpture, and painting,
nition of form as the knowledge and represen- since these three best reOected the growth of
tation of nature; and the importance of histo- the civic ideal and the increased refinement of
ria, or narrative, as the recounting of human social intercourse during his times.
actions. was a forward leap of the imagina-

tion, beginning on the ideological plane, and Set in a meadow dappled with wildflowers
directed toward the pursuit of beauty. against the backdrop of an orchard loaded
Henceforth, beauty would be the most impor- with ripening fruit, the Primavera is an

tant aim of philosophy, classic learning, and entirely allegorical painting embodying the
human behavior as well as of art. Read as an central elements of Neo-Platonic thought.
allegory of human life, the Primaverais one of One interpretation of the painting, based on
the greatest, most authentic revelations of the identities of the mythological figures, is

the Renaissance and its new message. When that it represents the domain of Venus.
his art reached its zenith in the 1480s, Bot- Zephyr, the West Wind, transforms his bride,
ticelli found himself in the company of phi- the nymph Chloris, into Flora, Spring itself
losophers, scholars, poets, writers, and men (Primavera). Her flowers bloom in April, the
charmed circle of Lorenzo the
of science in the month and
of Venus, the goddess of beauty
Magnificent. Inspired by the poetry of Plu- Cupid is the procreative spirit, bom

tarch, beauty was sought and found in the of Venus and Mercury, and the Three Graces
ancient world together with high ideals for are associated with Venus as minor nature
human nature. In the Greek sense, Lorenzo deities.

regarded the work of art as essential to the

celebration of the individual and to the civili- The ecirliest modem interpretation of the
zation to which the individual belonged. painting, in 1888, by Adolph Gaspary, the
Cosimo de' Medici regarded architecture as German historian of Italian literature,
the greatest of all art forms because it ex- suggested that the Venus of the Primavera
pressed the notion of constructive power, illustrated the goddess of Poliziano's idyllic

which was inherent to his concept of govern- poem "Stanza per la Giostra Giuliano." The
ment. To Lorenzo, his grandson, the greatest theory was further extended by linking the
mythological figures of the painting with garden with its lower pergola intact. Running
historic personages of the Medici family. the length of the side of the garden, the vine
Within the context of Neo-Platonic ideals, pergola shades the grassy terrace and is one
Venus is the incarnation of Marsilio Ficino's of the few remaining in Italy to have retained
doctrine: "She is Lx)ve." Venus gives life and its semicircular red brick columns with grey
has the power to transcend the physical stone plinths and foliage capitals.
world into the spiritual realm of the intellect

and ideal. The classical Venus becomes the The ancient idea of the contemplative life, the
Venus Humanitas the arouser of passions life of artistic and philosophical creativity

who also moderates them in full and that could only blossom in the countryside,
universal harmony. was revived by Petrarch in the mid-
fourteenth century. In the valley of Vaucluse
The Primavera, then, may be interpreted as he found a modest villeta of three or four
a symbolic reference to the Platonic cycle: the rooms with two gardens, one dedicated to
passage from the active to the elevated, more Apollo, and the other to Bacchus. In a grotto
contemplative life, from the temporal to an near the house, Petrarch wrote of his
eternal plane. Ovid tells how Zephyr married "transalpine Helicon" (or Mount Parnassus)
the nymph Chloris, who brought forth on whose summit the Castalian fountain of
flowersand was changed by him into the the muses sprang up in the hoofprints of
goddess Flora. The episode thus illustrates Pegasus as he soared from the mountaintop.
how the primordial force of passionate love is He explains his action in his treatise Solitary
influenced, through Cupid, by the power of Life: "Whether we are intent upon God or
the Venus of Harmony and then passes upon ourselves and our serious studies, or
through sublimation (the Graces) to whether we are seeking for a mind in
remeatio. the return, beyond nature, to its harmony with our own, it behooves us to
beginnings in intellectual contemplation. withdraw as far as may be from the haunts of
Mercury, in his Orphic role as conductor of men and crowded He commences his

the dead, indicates to Love, who has risen example with Adam: "Alone he lives in peace
from passion to the ecstasy of contemplation, and joy, with his companion in labor and
the infinite horizons of the world beyond, much sorrow. Alone he had been immortal,
which transcends both speech and reason."'^ as soon as he joined with woman he becomes
The Garden and the Villa
The humanists' ideals of balance and The humanists, however, rejected Petrarchs
symmetry were applied to architecture and ideal of solitaryand considered
garden design. The writings of Vitruvius, politicaland communal service their main
Varro, and Pliny provided sources for early endeavor. For them the city was the only
Renaissance villa and garden design. Among proper environment as a center of trade or
the earliest Renaissance villas was the business for men. They had little interest in
Quattrocento hunting-lodge dependence of the country except as a place to produce
the famous Medici villa of Cafaggliolo. More livestock. The humanists considered the
medieval in character than Renaissance, the palaces and villas of Florence a reflection of
four-square castellated villa with watch the glory and magnificence of the city,

tower was converted for Cosimo de' Medici by praising the villa, therefore, within the
Michelozzoin 1451. Approached by cypress- context of the fabric of society and not as a
lined roads, the hilltop site of the villa social retreat.
commands some of the most beautiful views
of Tuscany. The garden is a walled enclosure Inspired by the philosophical writings of
detached from the house and lying on a Cicero, the ancient Roman tradition of the
sloping site to the south. A lunette in the "villa dialogue" was revived by the fifteenth-
Museo Topographico shows the
in Florence century humanists with most of their dia-
layout of the house, chapel, farm, and walled logues set within a villa or its garden. Among
the most notable locations for these literary original in character) is the giardino segreto

and philosophical gatherings were the gar- located in a prolongation of the terrace be-
den of Alberti, called the Paradiso; the clois- hind the house. Only a few feet square and
ters of the monastery of S. Spirito and the laid out in the simplest Renaissance style
monastery at Sta. Maria degli Angeli; and with a circular opening and a fountain at the
Bracciolini's small villa at Terranuova in the crossing, it is perfectly designed for talk and
Val d'Amo which he called his Academia contemplation. Stone seats line the wall of

Valdomina. just as Cicero had called his the house under a loggia for daytime shade
Tusculan villa the Academia after Plato's and catch the early evening sun. Stone
famous school at Athens. balusters replace the boundary wall at the
comers to reveal the beautiful view of
With the secularization of culture in the Florence and the valley of the Amo.
fifteenth century, the villa gradually replaced

the monastery as the center of contemplative As the turmoil and conflict of the Middle Ages
life in Italy. In the later Middle Ages and the evolved to the erudite philosophy and pursuit
Renaissance when urban centers arose to of beauty of the Renaissance and its

political prominence and along with them a attendant reassessment of antiquity, the new
burgeoning leisure class, the tradition of era of humanism, foreshadowed by
villeggiatura or withdrawal to a country Masaccio, emerged based on a new
residence had become popular. Several fac- perception of man as the cosmic center of his
tors promoted the importance of villeggia- world and created in the image of God as
tura, among which included: geography and reflected through nature: "We look into a

climate, which was remarka-

in central Italy world where man. a solitary figure, is both
bly conducive to good health and well being: identified by what Marsilio Ficino called the
the importance of the extended family as the "nostalgia for something lost" and consoled
source of political and social power and its by its recovery. Man himself, rather than any
retention of ties to its point of origin; and the earthly object or landscape, appears, abovj
association of the villa as an aspect of an all else, the supreme beauty of this world: He
agrarian society. is at once its nucleus, its essence, its

motivation. He is the world's finite heart,

The Villa Medici at Fiesole may be considered distinguishable from a vague and undefined
the first true Italian Renaissance villa. infinity.""*

Designed by Michelozzo and built between

1458 and 1461. its original fifteenth-century The Paradise Msrth
character has disappeared. However, the The Paradise Myth or Paradise as Garden is
garden has been only superficially changed; one of man's oldest ideals. Paradise was the
the fundamental lines of and its
its terraces secure, ideal, and everlasting garden. The
magnificent views are The view
still intact. tradition of the Western garden can be traced
fulfills more perfectly perhaps than any other directly to the continuity of a garden tradition
Medici villa Alberti's maxim that the site stemming from the ancient empires of the
should overlook a city or plain "bounded by river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates; the

familiar mountains" and that in the Achaemanians, the greatest gardeners of the
foreground there should be the "delicacy of ancient world; and Cyrus the Great's garden
gardens."'^ at his capital at Pasargadae. Later, the
Sumerian-Babylonian paradise was recalled
In typical Tuscan style, a long avenue of by the Homeric Elysian Fields a place of
cypress trees lines the approach to the main perfect bliss and immortality.
terrace. Another cypress-lined walk leads to

the hill above and a bowling green. The open, The symbolic relationships among water, the
grassy terrace is shaded by trees and bor- Cosmic Tree, and the garden have been his-
dered by lemon trees in pots. Perhaps the torically intertwined with the cultures of both

most intriguing space (as well as the most the Near East and the West since the Old
found throughout the world and usually
represents regeneration or immortality. In
the Garden of Eden of Genesis, the Cosmic
Tree was the Tree of Life and associated with
immortality. The Cosmic Tree also has been
found to symbolize the heavens or a means of
ascent to heaven. Sacred trees are mentioned
in the sacred literature of the world's major
religions, as the Tree of Knowledge, or the
Tree of Good and Evil. The Cosmic Tree has
appeared as an inverted tree with its roots in
heaven, growing downward toward the earth.
Cypress trees inevitably appear in Persian
and Mughal gardens; great avenues of
cypress often border the watercourses which
divide the garden into plots. In Persian
cultures, the cypress tree came to symbolize
immortality through its association with
water, the elixir of life.

In Christian theology, water is the symbol for

rebirth and reunification of man with God.
Testament account of the Garden of Eden. In The Old Testament account of the Garden of
the earliest known civilization of the lower Eden cind the Fall is an allegory of the
Mesopotamia in the valleys of the Tigris and spiritual alienation of man from the
Euphrates rivers the belief that water was the
supernatural the separation of man's
source of all life was a common idea in many physical nature from his divine nature.
cultures. Cultivation of the great alluvial Adam and Eve chose between good and evil.

river basin was made possible by irrigation. Their choice cost them and their progeny
Elizabeth Moynihan observes that early peaceful bliss and eternal happiness. It is

communities were evidently democratic: only through the spiritual rebirth of baptism
every man cooperated to build and maintain that the stain of Original Sin can be removed
the canals, dikes, and reservoirs or earthen and that the individual can be spiritually
tanks on which crops and life depended. reunited with the Christian community.
Violent floods occurred periodically and were
disastrous. Thus, through dependence and Hieronymus Bosch's entropic view of the fate
fear, these primitive cultivators developed a of man is an accurate reflection of the
reverence for water. One of their earliest political and theological climate of the chaotic

deities was the god of sweet water, whom they Middle Ages. In Bosch's duplicitous world a
also regarded as the friend and protector of malevolent evil is forever lurking behind an
man. illusionistic veil of innocence waiting to
enticeand entrap man in his own folly. The
Nature myths, which endured for centuries, Fountain of Life, which is so prominent in

were among the early oral traditions in both the Eden and the Garden panels, gives
archaic Mesopotamian civilization. Plants sustenance to the creatures which partake
and trees not only symbolized vegetation of its waters. Yet its forms symbolically allude
deities, but were believed to contain a divine to sorcery, alchemy, and Islam all of which

presence. were associated with Satan. Slimy,

primordial creatures crawl from the murky
The worship of the cosmologically sacred tree depths of a stagnant pool. An ominous
was a result of the development of religious foreboding of events to transpire, the "elixir of

ritual and the prominence of votive trees. The becomes the amniotic fluid of evil. In the

miraculous Cosmic Tree is a common motif Eden panel, the Tree of Knowledge, or Tree of
Good and Evil, is entwined by the serpent higher plane (Chastity, between Beauty and
which is destined to tempt the unsuspecting Pleasure, turns her back on worldly things).
Adam and Eve and betray their relationship Finally, Love, guided by Mercury, returns to
with God. The which sustains physical
fruit the highest, ideal sphere.
life and gives pleasure is subverted to sym-

bolize lust, spiritual alienation, remorse, and In Paradise as a Garden Elizabeth Moynihan
death. In medieval theology, the apocalyptic writes that one of the oldest types of Christian
vision of Revelations is a continuous event. mystical experiences was a "nostalgia for
paradise" or man's repeated attempt to

The humanist temperament of the establish the paradise situation lost at the
Renaissance gave a new, Christianized dawn of time. It is recalled in the Age of
meaning pagan myths and legends of
to the Humanism by what Ficino called the
antiquity. The political and theological "nostalgia for something lost." The symbolic
morass of the Middle Ages was being transformation of the "barren landscape" of
revitalized by the emerging optimism of the Masaccio's Expulsion into a verdant earthly
new age. Sandro Botticelli's Primavera is a paradise garden is a reinstatement of man's
symbolic reference to the Platonic cycle and desire for a mystical reunification with the
the reunification of the physical with the originalparadise and recurs throughout
metaphysical, the passage from the temporal and occidental art and architecture.
and earthly to a more contemplative, eternal The myth of eternal return is reflected in
plane the transcendence of man from his Indian philosophy as equating the primeval
physical world through intellect and reason beginning with the final reward recounting
to a higher, supernatural realm. According to the paradise myth and the garden of paradise
Umberto Baldini, the painting is intended to as a heavenly paradise.
be read from right to left and the figures are
considered to represent a kind of rural The and metaphysical dimension of
calendar constructed according to the the paradise gardenwas preserved througjj
months of agricultural activity (omitting the Middle Ages within the cloisters of the
winter). monasteries. Here contemplation and theo-
logical debate elevated man above his tempo-
Another interpretation of the Primavera by ral stateand brought him in closer commun-
Mirella Levi D'Ancona concludes from the ion with God. In the humanist gardens of the
symbolism of the plants and their association Renaissance villas the mystical cycle of eter-

with various historical figures that the nal return could be symbolically reenacted
painting was completed for Lorenzo di through the transcendent dialogues of the
Pierfrancesco's wedding on July 19, 1482. Platonic Academy. The giardino segreto be-
Significantly, this date fell on a Friday, the came the "garden within the garden" where
day sacred to Venus. Aureoled in myrtle, the one could seek solace and isolation from the
plant of marriage, this goddess dominates temptations and distractions of the outside
the scene as she presides over the occasion. world. A "room within a room," the giardino
Venus also evokes a symbolic reference to segreto, contained by trees with its

water for, according to legend, the goddess ubiquitous fountain, was a world unto itself,

Venus Anadyomene rose from the sea and isolated and remote, where the cosmic
was carried ashore by a pair of Zephyrs. triumvirate, God,Man, and Nature, could be
reunited once again in celestial harmony.
The Neo-Platonic interpretation illustrates
the three types of love distinguished by
Marsilio Ficino, amorjerinus. humanus, and
divinus (carnal, human, and divine love).
Love, impelled to earth by Passion, is

changed to Beauty as represented by Chloris

and Zephyr. In the dance of the Three Graces,
Love is transmuted, or "converted," to a

Notes 1 2 Beagle The Garden of Earthly Delights, p.

1 Hartt, Frederick History of Italian Renais- 45.

sance Art: Painting. Sculpture. Architecture
Harry N. Abrams (New York) 1969, p. 162. 13 Baldini Primauera. p. 90.

2 Moynihan, Elizabeth B. Paradise as a 14 Coffin, David R. The Villa in the Life of

Garden in Persia and Mughal India George Renaissance Rome Princeton University
Braziller (New York) 1979, p. 2. Press 1979, p. 10.

3 In Italian Abrams, New

Gardens (Harry N. 15 Masson Italian Gardens, p. 75.

York) Georgina Masson writes that Pompeian

gardens were usually of two types-either a 16 Baldini Primavera. p. 14.

courtyard garden in the colonnaded peristyle

of the house where plants grew in pots or
vases or small beds surrounding a pool or
piscina, or, in houses where there was only a
small central courtyard, a portico opened
onto the garden of xystus behind the house.

4 Masson Italian Gardens, p. 51

5 Baldini, Umberto Primauera: The Resto-

ration of Botticelli's Masterpiece Harry N.
Abrams (New York) 1984, p. 30.

6 The terms "fractional naturalism" and

"Gothic naturalism" are used by A. Richard
Turner in The Vision of Landscape in Renais-
sance Italy (Princeton University Press, 1 966)
to convey the narrative technique of the
medieval artists in illustrating a story with
serial imagery and their scrupulous atten-
tion to specific anatomical and physical de-

7 In northern Europe, the date of the paint-

ing, c. 1 500, can still be considered the Middle
Ages, while in the south it is clearly the

8 Beagle, Peter S. The Garden of Earthly

Delights Viking Press (New York) 1982, p. 4.

9 ibid., pp. 40-41.

10 ibid., p. 46.

1 1 For a more comprehensive and scholarly

interpretation of Bosch's medieval symbol-
ism refer to Dirk Bax's Hieronymus Bosch:
His Picture-Writing Deciphered (Rotterdam,
Richard R. Knorr
Architecture as Cultural Artifact:
Conception, Perception (Deception?)

Julia W. Robinson Abstract competing views of architecture which are in

University of Minnesota In this working paper the ideas of dialectics opposition to one another. Applying the
and relativity are used to develop a model of principle of relativity to these theoretical
architectural theory.' The essay explains stances provides a way of seeing architec-
why existing contributions made from an tural theory in which a plurality of views
anthropological perspective are not coexist, each presenting a "true" perspective,
incorporated into architectural theory, and and all together providing a more complete
how they could significantly contribute to it. understanding than any one alone. Thus for

architectural theory, no single perspective is

Anthropological Views and Architectural seen as adequate for a complete understand-

Theory ing, but all together create a more compre-
The tie between the disciplines of hensive description.
architecture and anthropology can be
intuitively seen by those familiar with both. But it is not sufficient to state that the various
Nevertheless, after almost twenty years of theoretical positions are complementary; a
study in the area of overlap, built form, and model needs to be provided which shows how
culture, contributions and insights have not the positions are related. Descriptors
been integrated with architectural theory in commonly used to delineate opposite ways of
any significant way. This working paper uses seeing architecture can be used to define a
the anthropological ideas of dialectic and field of architectural theory. The paired
relativity to develop a model of architectural words have a dialectic relationship; a
theory. The model graphically represents the theoretical position is located in tension
relationships between the various positions between the two ways of seeing. The field

taken by architectural theorists, and locates thus formed allows the various positions to
the areas where anthropological approaches be seen relative to one another. Using the
contribute to this body of theory. Starting idea of plythetic dimensions discussed by
from this model, the paper addresses the Rapoport (forthcoming), these dimensions
question why these contributions, while not may not apply to all theories, nor do all

rejected, are not explicitly dealt with by theories necessarily fall precisely within the
architectural theorists. It further discusses limited dimensions discussed here.
how the development of architectural theory Nonetheless, this provides a way to see as a
can be significantly enhanced by studies of unity the body of work which exists and to
built form and culture. envision questions which remain unex-
The present view of architectural theory
seems to be (according to my discussions Conception-Perception
with Lobell, Moore, Norberg-Schulz. and Presently, architectural theory falls primarily
Seamons, 1985) that it consists of a variety of within two realms, that of the designer, which
provides insight into the ways to create the to whether they are communicated by the
architectural object, and that of the artifact, the discipline of architecture is en-
historian, which describes or explains the gaged in an act of narcissism and self-decep-
artifact once created. Although some recent tion. Viewing architecture as both a cultural
work is fairly successful in attempting to and an artistic medium potentially produces
bridge the gap in architectural theory be- an architecture which will be meaningful not
tween the created object and the process of only within the discipline but also to the
creation with ameasure of success {Venturi. society as a whole.
Scott-Brown, and Izenour, 1972: Kostof,
1985), these works retain certain premises Bringing together these two points of view
which are flawed in serious ways. The im- (architecture as designer intentions and
plied defmition of architecture and the ap- architecture as medium for cultural ideas)

proach to evaluating it do not reflect a broad juxtaposes two perspectives on form and
understanding of culture. ideology which can be described using three
sets o terms: conception (making) and
Most architectural theoreticians have seen perception (interpretation): deduction or
the architectural artifact as a work of art rationalityand induction or intuition: and
whose prime purpose is to express the artistic the values of professionals and those of lay
vision of the designer. In this sense, the people. As stated earlier, these modes do not
architectural artifact is to be viewed primarily necessarily form a complete picture, and for
as a conception of the architect, and it is to be purposes of clarity, positions have been
evaluated accepting the stated or implied oversimplified (for example, when
intentions of the designer. The forms are theoreticians are located in the model, it is in

assumed to be expressions of the intentions. reference to a specificwork rather than the

References made to temporal and social complete body of work). Also, while the model
context are usually used to explain the allows a simultaneous view of the positions,
author's intentions. In this way architectural it is important to note that valid philosophical
theory accepts the view of architecture as a differences may make some positions
phenomenon created by architects, and mutually untenable. But like the gestalt
judges it as an object of "high culture" rather vase-faces image, for which only one view can
than as an artifact which participates in the be held in the mind at any given moment, the
dialogue of culture in general. "truth" is a paradox in which both images
coexist. Similarly, in architectural theory the

The anthropologist looks at the architectural plurality of views results in a richer, more
artifacts broadly, as phenomena which complete understanding of architecture.
represent the ideology of a culture, and which
manifest social values. Architecture is seen We have discussed the differences between
as encompassing built forms whether the view of built form as a process of making
designed by people who call themselves the artifact or the process of understanding
architects or by others, thus including the the artifact. Represented in the model as
various forms of popular or vernacular conception and perception with an interstice
design as well as "high" architecture. This is representing their integration (see diagram
an important point because this view places 1), these two perspectives ask very different
importance on the nature of the objects and questions, and in fact adopt very different
the context more than authorhood. The theoretical approaches. A particular case
anthropologist is concerned about knowing currently is the debate between the
how ordinary people use and understand the semiologists and the phenomenologists.
architectural artifact, and what cultural While these two approaches have very
behaviors and attitudes are supported by the different roots philosophically, the real

form of built environment. Insofar as the difference between the approaches when
architect and the architectural theoreticians applied to architectural theory lies in the
limit their interest to the conception, to the nature of the questions the proponents are
intentions which created the artifact and not asking. While architectural phenomenolo-
gists ask. "What does architecture mean?." of the artifact (thus to the communication of
the semiologists ask, "How does architec- the ideas to the society at large), the nature of
tural form communicate meaning?" For the the built environment as a medium for

most part, the phenomenological view is culture becomes evident. The architectural
presently taken by those who are interested artifact then is understandable as a force
in looking at the artifact, while the semiologi- which supports either perpetuation of
cal view is taken by those who are interested cultural norms or of cultural change. This
in designing the artifact. While the debate view implies a responsibility on the part of the
rages about the fundamental philosophical designer to be aware of the values implied by
differences of the two groups, the fact that particular forms.
they are each providing valid answers to
different questions is clouded. Furthermore, With increased research on the actual
for a useful architectural theory, both per- performance of the architectural artifact

spectives are necessary. (such as in areas of energy or environment-

behavior), we have the opportunity to inform
Compounding this difference is one which design with research, bringing together the
can best be described, if somewhat conceptual aspects of architecture with the
oversimplified, by the traditional distinction perceptual. If these two aspects of
which has been made between inductive/ architecture are not integrated, the design
intuitive approaches (based on subjective act will become one of willful rather than
observation) and deductive/rational inadvertent self-deception as in the past. So
approaches (based on empirical evidence and long as architects are content to consider as
logical deduction) to both design and their arena of operation only the conceptual
interpretation of architecture. In the case of aspects of design, they can ignore the
the semiologists, we find the designer- political and moral consequences of their
oriented theorists interested in rational work. This is what the current architectural
approaches (Jencks, 1969: Broadbent, 1969; debate is beginning to address, and what is at
Eco. 1973). In contrast, the phenomenologist the heart of the matter. We now have the
approach taken by some historians (Lxibell, means for self-examination by looking at the

1979; Norberg-Schulz, 1985), which rejects outcome of our work. Will predominant
the duality of mind and body implied by architectural theory continue to discuss
traditional empiricism, is rooted in intuitive proportional systems, architectural styles,
understanding. Therefore, while and topological characteristics without
semiologists are moving toward ways to regard to their relevance beyond the elite few?
and the perceptual
integrate the conceptual
and phenomenologists are
in creating design,
becoming interested in ways to design The architectural artifact is a manifest inten-
phenomenologically, the groups continue to tion (Norberg-Schulz, 1963). Embodied
operate in discrete but complementary areas. within it are many ideas which derive from
many sources. But it is important to realize
Deception and Architecture as Cultural that the intentions within this cultural arti-
Artifact fact are not necessarily coincidental with the
The anthropological approach to the intentions of the designer or builder. As
architectural artifact (along with most other cultural beings we carry with us myriad levels
environment-behavior approaches) sees the of cultural ideas, many of which we are not
built environment as a medium for the conscious. These unconscious cultural ideas
communication and propagation of cultural form the figure against which the ground of
ideas. Specific behaviors are supported, and consciousness plays. And for the perception
social structures become represented by the of the object as well, the cultural context is

characteristic making of the artifact, which ground to the architectural figure. Thus the
perpetuates cultural actions and attitudes, is architectural artifact embodies many cul-
linked with perception (here used in its tural Interests, only some of which we know
broadest sense to incorporate interpretation) consciously.
The conception of architectural artifacts is, tent to the built product, thus mediating and
by its nature, extraordinarily complex, as the enriching the formal ideas. While this
number of elements which go into the built method of building was segmented, the
structure is very large. In a society which has mediating effect of the craftsperson allowed
a tradition of building, the complexity of the the unconscious cultural ideas to be main-
conceptual design process is managed by tained.
traditional ways of accomplishing the design
and construction of architecture. For In the early twentieth century, the value base
example, the type of building to be of Western culture was called into question.
constructed is identified. The set of types As the traditional architecture carried
from which any culture may select may vary, cultural messages of dominance now seen as
but the notion of type, whether designated by negative, the traditional mode of
function (shelter from a humid, hot climate), construction was rejected and a new one was
style (art deco). or icon (temple), is a common gradually put into place. This rejection of the
way of managing information. Systems are traditional model of construction was
used to guide the placement of buildings; for perhaps the most powerful cultural
example, these may be ritualistic (orientation alteration that took place.
to the cardinal points), economic (near the
market), or customary (the house always
faces the street). Such systems serve to limit In turning away from the Beaux Arts and the
the infinite number of possibilities and direct traditional mode of construction, and in the
decision-making so that in one conscious rejection of the vernacular, while attempts
decision many unconscious choices are also were made to create an architecture with a
made. new ethic, what also occurred was a rejection
of the cultural unconscious which lay within
The construction process, too. is controlled the traditional forms, in exchange for an
by this means. The materials, the ways of architectural process which attempted to be
putting them together, are subordinate to a fully conscious. But because the mind is

system. Because the human mind is limited limited in what it can consciously
in what it can consciously manipulate at any manipulate, the resultant architecture was
one time, these systems and categories allow abstract, even empty. The unity between
control of a complex process. Thus, in the construction and conception was recognized,
process of conceptualizing architecture, but the tie with perception and actual use
there is a difference between those choices was ignored. It would be misleading to think
which are consciously made and the larger that all traditional forms embodied negative
set of responses which happen as a result of cultural values, or to think that architects of
the unconscious outcomes embedded in the the modem movement were able to operate in
system (building-code categories have a cultural vacuum. While architects rejected
implications for organization of space, the construction processes and formal
materials, etc.). representations of the cultural tradition, they
were not able to escape from most of the
In contrast to simpler societies, where the cultural categories for buildings which
conceptual process, the construction existed. Therefore, they built schools,
process, and the process of inhabiting the churches, hospitals, and mental institutions
built forms are closely allied, the with only slight modifications to the socially
specialization of Western culture has created constructed building programs. And the
segmentation. While the architectural entry of the architect into the housing arena
profession emerged to be responsible for must be specifically mentioned because a
environments in the public realm, the ab- large part of the difficulty with modem hous-
stract conceptions and geometrical propor- ing can be attributed to the application of
tional systems of the architect were modified architectural values originally derived for the
and formalized by craftspeople who applied a public realm to the design of buildings for
tradition of construction and cultural con- private use.
The increased distancing of the architectural side of the field. Tuan's interest in concep-
profession from generally held values tionswhich make the environment as well as
exacerbated by the loss of traditional those which provide Interpretation places
construction techniques makes it imperative him as more integrated with the conceptual
that designers be concerned not simply with than Bachelard.
their own perspective, but with the
perspective of laypersons. The awareness of Certain semiologlsts are also concerned with
the cultural dimension of architecture, and the lay perspective in ways that relate it to the
the techniques for cultural analysis inherent professional perspective (Jencks, 1969; Eco,
in the anthropological approach, can provide 1973; Broadbent, 1974; Bonta, 1979;
new directionsand content for architectural Krampen, 1979: and others). They are aware
theory. By overlapping the last dimensions of that the lay perception is an essential part of
the architectural field, the descriptors the functioning of architecture. What the
"professional perspective" and "lay anthropological view adds to such
perspective," with the former dimensions, we semlological work is a cross-cultural
can see how different approaches to the lay theoretical framework which explains how
perspective may elucidate the professional architecture functions simultaneously as art
perspective. Additionally, we can see how and as part of the ordinary.
different approaches to the study of the lay
perspective relate to each other. Tafurl writes of the Importance of
architecture as "indifferent object" (1976).
Two works which deal primarily with the lay Rapoport points out that architecture
perspective are Alexander. Ishikawa, and communicates a consistent message by
Silverstein (1968). and Rapoport (1982). In means of the redundancy between
Pattern Language, for example, Alexander et architectural features (1977). But it is

al. start from the perspective of the through dissonance that we perceive
conception of the artifact. The authors inconsistency and bring to consciousness
describe in an intuitive way the values of the aspects of the cultural pattern which we
layperson as they are tied to the design of the normally do not see (Robinson, forthcoming).
architectural artifact. But at the same time, Thus dissonance plays a role in challenging
the authors are interested in scientific existing cultural patterns, in doing other
evidence to support or negate the thesis, than perpetuating the status quo. This is

thereby implying an inherent concern with what the real role of art can be. In defining
the perception of the artifact. Rapoport, on architecture as an artistic endeavor, we then
the other hand, starts from a consideration of speak of a more profound impact than

the created artifact and a concern with the simple stylistic variation. Architecture as an
origins of it. He is also interested in scientific art. which challenges what exists, is by its

evidence to support his thesis, and sees the very nature set against the background of the
perception of the artifact as inherently tied to ordinary.
its conception.
Architecture, when conceived as a cultural
Phenomenological theorists such as artifact in the anthropological sense,
Bachelard (1969) and Tuan (1977) interpret presents itself as a complex phenomenon
setting from a personal as well as which can be looked at from many diverse
interpersonal perspective based on cultural points of view. Because the discipline of
ideas, which locates their interest as in the anthropology addresses not only questions of
lay perspective on the perceptual side. While aesthetics and art. but also those of dally
the interpretations provided are from docu- experience and human activity, it is a poten-
mented sources, these authors are not con- tially potent perspective from which to see an
cerned with statistical or other ways to sub- integrated architectural theory. And, the
stantiate them, but instead view each per- application of the methods of anthropology to
sonal account as valid on its own terms. For architectural questions offers many new
this reason, they are placed on the intuitive fruitful directions.
Note in the Architecture of Louis P. Kahn Boulder.
1 This paper is a slightly modified version of Colo. (Shambhala), 1979.

an invited working paper published in

Carswell, J. W., and Saile, D. G., Purposes in Lobell, D.: Moore, G.; Norberg-Schulz, C:
Built Form and Culture Research (Proceed- and Seamons, D. A series of discussions held
ings of the 1986 International Conference on individually and in public forum with the

Built Form and Culture Research. Lawrence, author at the West Central Region Annual
Kansas: University of Kansas). Because this Conference, of the Association of Collegiate
essay is a rough conceptual sketch, written to Schools of Architecture, St. Louis. 1985.

engender discussion and debate, many of the

points in this paper are not developed in the Norberg-Schulz, C. The Concept of Dwelling:
depth they deserve. On the Way to Figurative Architecture Rizzoli
(New York), 1985.
Alexander, C, Ishikawa, S., and Silverstein, . Intentions in Architecture

M. A Pattern Language. TownsBuildings- Allen & Unwin (London), 1963.

Construction Oxford University Press (New
York) 1968. Rapoport, A. "Defining Vernacular Design"
In M. Turan (ed.) On Vernacular Architecture:
Bachelard, G. The Poetics of Space Beacon A Collection of Essays (forthcoming).

Press (Boston) 1969.

. Human Aspects of Urban Form
Bonta, J. P. Architecture and Its Pergamon Press (Oxford), 1977.

Interpretation: A Study oJExpressive Systems

in Architecture Rizzoli (New York) 1979. . The Meaning of the Built
Environment: A Nonverbal Communication
Broadbent, G. 'The Deep Structures of Approach Sage (Beverly Hills, Calif.) 1982.
Architecture" In Lloren, T. (ed.) Arquitectora.
historia y teorie de los signos (Barcelona) Robinson, J. "Architecture as Medium for

1974. Culture: Institution-like and Homelike

Settings" In S. M. Low and E. Chambers
Eco, U. "Function and Sign: The Semiotics (eds.) Culture. Housing and Design: A
of Architecture" VIA, magazine of the Comparative Perspective (forthcoming).
Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of
Pennsylvania, Vol. 1,1973. Tafuri, M. Theories and History of
Architecture Harper & Row (New York). 1980.

Jencks, C. "The Architectural Sign" In G.

Broadbent, R. Burt, and C. Jencks (eds.) Tuan, Y. F. Space and Place: The Perspective
Signs. Symbols and Architecture John Wiley of Experience University of Minnesota Press
(Chichester, England) 1980. (Minneapolis). 1977.
. "Semiology and Architecture" In
C. Jencks and G. Baird. Meaning in and Izenour. S.
Venturi, R., Scott-Brown. D..
Architecture George Braziller (New York), Learning from Las The Forgotten
1969. Symbolism of Architectural Form MIT Press
(Cambridge. Mass.), 1977.
Kostof, S. A History oj Architecture: Settings
and Rituals Oxford University Press (New
York), 1985.

Krampen, M. Meaning in the Urban Environ-

ment Pion (London), 1979.

Lobell, J. Between Silence and Light: Spirit

Urban Proportions

Dragos Patrascu These notes have been inspired by travel in Mediterranean cultures, which was the
Skidmore. Owings northern Italy, made possible by a grant from courtyard dwelling. The square was the living
and Merrill
the School of Architecture of the University of room of the communal house, which was the
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The initial city: Alberti. I believe, said that the city was
intention was to study some of the historic nothing but a large house and the house a
urban spaces described by Camilla and
Sitte small city.

by Rob Krier. and to eventually develop an

understanding of the relation between Although so much has been said already
typological aspects (which captured Sitte's against Modernist urbanism. I will stress that

and Krier's attention) and surface treatments an important shift in our idea of open public
(patterns, textures, rhythms, etc.). spaces due to the cubist endeavor to "know"

an turning around it and then

object by
My basic premises are that social interaction composing a representation of its multiple
in non-institutionalized spaces (like the street facets. In cities, this approach put the weight
and the city square) is good and necessary for on the building and wrapped the public space
the community: also, that traditional cities around it. In contrast, the traditional
(classical or medieval) have developed the approach was to wrap buildings around a
most fully achieved forms of public spaces square, like walls around an "urban room.
that suit this interaction and. for this reason,
a democratic urban life. The virtue of these The Mediterranean: rocky shores deeply
cities appears to rest in their being urban carved, warm air and bright light, dust and.
continuums, orfine mixings of uses that stand above all. the presence of something,
in sharp contrast with our current zoning somebody one cannot see but which
regulations. And for its dwellers, the physical nevertheless is there. The Etruscan heads of
and functional urban continuum encourages the funeral urns of Chiusi or from the Villa
the formation of the social continuum: this Giulia in Roma, on Isabella's shoulders . . .

seems to be the medium where democracy is without the mysterious smile of her ancestors
at ease. whose painted clay pupils contemplate the
absolute in the underground tombs of
In terms of architectural typology, these Tarquinia. A middle-aged man with a boy on
combined urban and social structures a train heading toward Napoli. late afternoon
generated unity. Vitruvius and the in the Campania. The shape of the head. nose,
architectural treatises of the Renaissance chin, and the deep furrows at the nostrils

described the city square almost as a building resemble the portraiture of the late Republican
in itself, with walls and gates. Moreover, its period. The living Roman bust is not wrapped
being an enclosure made it similar to the in a toga: instead he wears slacks, a white
predominant residential type of the shirt, and talks softly to the boy. Under the
VlGWAm^ ^^^y t<- t'^^
ij'ff'.->f^.' y'v^v
U''^-<Ji^< I'vOLBv' t" '
ww^. ^ cL^ .^ r ij;^^

UuJU. " -v^^Ui^ ts- t^

wIk w^-f,^ |t^^_^

fCu y2s^ .yit

shallow layer of/at that smooths his features. centuries ago. They are still, but the leaves of
I discern a lineage of coins, and
reliefs, move with the wind.
the tree across the street
statues, and of lasting human forms and Men. become what you make of them.

attitudes which have never died on this land. They move, talk, and so do you. but everything
The sounds of classical antiquity are here, seems to have happened already and you
diffused in the canon of the latecomers, from know it will happen again. It is as if every
the sixth-century Lombards to the eighteenth- ruined streetcomer had its own frozen crowd,
century Austrians. and lately mixed with the as old (or timeless) as the stones. We travelers
noise of industry and media. People live busy slip into these human shells and for a moment
lives here. Travelers, who number in the look through their orbits at the landscape and
millions, flood their cities, archaeological at the other human shells where other
sites, and beaches every summer, with a high travelers hide. Was it I, trying to escape the
tide in July and August. They are everywhere, 2:00 p.m. sun on a Thursday at the Villa

from the depths of the earth in Etruscan Adriana. who ran a massive brick
straight to
tombs. Roman sewers or catacombs, to the top wall and to the cave-like shade I was
of the mountains, riding a Jeep up on Etna to anticipating behind it? Did the girl who was
look over the volcano's edge. Yet. it isn't hard hiding there, eating a sandwich, believe me
to escape them all. There are lonely comers in when I stated my name, profession, and
Pompeii where one can sit on the sidewalk and purpose? And was she really German, from
listen. The stones were lined up some 20 Hamburg, as slie thought she was and told
The Negative Mirror
Marco's mirror has the property to reveal
cities in a very unpredictable way. It works,
more or less, like one of the concave parabolic
surfaces used to concentrate the parallel
rows of solar rays into a unique point, giving

i them a previously unknown shining. In a



the traveler's gaze will bend the
apparently isolated and indifferent facets of a
tie them together into a more
me? Or. rather, was it the reiteration of a intense reality. We believe that, in doing so,

timeless encounter which lasted five minutes he reveals the "genius loci," which is a
on my Timex but might as well have lasted projection of human conscience. Once a
forever at that very spot, or maybe we are still place displays traces of habitation (past or
there. . . ?Can one experience a thing and its present) it becomes teleonomic, i.e.,

opposite at the same time? Is it a play of my illustrative of an intention which is always

perception, this "alter ego" who I feel has the print of human action. Moreover, this

deserted this ruined home one second before human "intention" can be found even in the

I turn the comer? His breath is in the air. the natural landscape, as in the traditional

sand still retains his footprints, and I wonder toponymy of mountain peaks, rivers, woods,
why the guide is trying so hard to convince us etc. The ancient geographical names often

that the place has been empty for some 2.000 refer to characters and events which work

years. according to the finalist causality typical of

mythical thought. What is then the nature of

Icannot think of a word to describe the the "intention," this human print Inextricably
amb^uous feeling about past and present I related to the concept of place?
always have when seeing remnants of Greek
or Roman social life. Indeed, a notion is Let us think of a city. It would be superfluous
usually described by the features which to seek the "genius loci" in its quantifiable

include it in a larger class and by those which elements alone. Indeed, one may count the
make it singular. In this case, the class is time buildings, and classify them,
and the notions we are trying to define are establish a typology, and finally test the
past, present, and future. In my forms against the background physical
aforementioned experiences, it became futile conditions; even so, one may be unable to

to conjugate the verb "to be." Historic explain how, among the multitude of

differences faded away or seemed irrelevant: acceptable solutions, a particular one came
what emerged, rather, were those to be adopted. It would be difficult to tell why,

mechanisms, values, and spaces of social life for instance, some people choose to lock the
we have retained from classical antiquity and front door whereas others enter the building
which still are the foundations of Western through the roof and pull up the ladder. Two
Civilization. Hence the purpose of hisJourney factors enter our description here: first, that

is revealed to the traveler: "'Journeys to relive most often, people looked for one of the
your past?' was the Khan's question at this technically acceptable solutions rather than
point, a question which could also have been for the optimal one: second, that their formal
formulated: 'Journeys to recover yourfuture?' choices ultimately rested upon some peculiar
And Marco's answer was: 'Elsewhere is a representation of the world, other than a
negative mirror. The Traveler recognizes the scientific or technical one. These
little that is his. discovering themuch he has representations have a redemptive content,
not had and will never have.'"' and this brings architecture under the
incidence of ethics. Architecture is political.
It is this axiological aspect the traveler will staging of human interaction. Its privileged

search for in the negative mirror. He will location is the city; here, due to the proximity
measure the buildings and the people, but of individuals, the relationships they
ultimately he will interrogate their establish aremore dense and more complex
motivations in order to decipher the language than anywhere else, and so are the spaces
of space. But, one might ask at this point, can and buildings which support them.
knowledge of "elsewhere and before" redeem
the "here and now"? Amos Rapoport shows how clustering (on
ethnic, economic, or sociocultural criteria) is
Travel Proposal a quasi-natural adaptive response of people
If architecture is to support and enhance in any urban agglomeration. "In large cities,

human experiences, it becomes congruent people are constantly exposed to other people
with the motivations of behavior: the search and their artifacts; an area of people with
for survival, security, fulfillment of the Self, similar behavioral, spatial and artifactual

and interaction. Man has, therefore, erected codes provides a retreat, reduces stress and
around himself, adaptive forms in the eliminates conflict."^ The geometric nature of
broadest sense, forms to enable him to exist, urban clusters is that of dense perimetal
contemplate himself and interact with arrangements of individual units
others. It is far beyond the limits of these surrounding an open common area; this took
notes to explore the reciprocal influences of shape, traditionally, in the city square,
behavior and built environment. Rather, 1 which, in its quintessential quality of civic
would concentrate on the architectural space, is proposed as the object of this study.

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Camillo Sitte, in his Art of Building Cities of witnessed instead, in the joyful ranks of the
1889, described numerous Western Post Modernists, a hedonistic tendency
European squares and analyzed the esthetic toward quickly and affordably gratifying
and historic reasons for their successful themselves and their clients with fragments
performance. Although as early as 1944Eliel of prestige, power, or mystery, seemingly
Saarinen welcomed the English translation salvaged from a wreck of classical
of the book, Sitte's principles seem to have architecture. To what extent the traditional
gained credibility with currently practicing understanding of civic life as the noblest form
architects mostly through the writings and of human order should lend its architecture
projects of the latter Neo-Rationalists. The to a "learning from Las Vegas" type of
ensuing sympathy for classical and medieval situation, and whether a pediment, column,
urban architecture was, or rather should etc.. created to be part of an ordered whole,
have been, at the convergence of two bodies of should be used byitself with no regard for its

knowledge: one, esthetic, which would seek modular nature, are questions to be
in previous epochs good composition rules answered from case to case.
that helped design spaces for a sane social
life; the other, ideologic, concerned with the Elsewhere is a negative mirror Sitte, Rossi,
values which made social life sane. We can Krler,and others have found it in the study of
see how, without trying to be a form of traditional Western cities, and we will try to
revolution, architecture could at least aim at reiterate their journey. But, before ap-
being a form of public education. We have proaching the places they mentioned, what
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should be the lines of thought that will organ- all these creative conflicts is the collective
ize one's perception? First, there is the urban memory, itself in permanent dialectic adjust-
environment seen as a "locus." This concept ment with the spirit of order of the time: 'The
seeks the intrinsic nature of architecture in collective memory becomes at last the trans-

the dialectic of social life and built forms, on formation of space in the works of the collec-
the background motive of reciprocal meta- tivity, a transformation that is always condi-
morphosis of past and present. "Locus ...we tioned by whatever material realities oppose
understand the relationship, at the same it. "5 And so the continuity of the city in time
time particular and universal, established is established.
between a certain specific location and the
buildings that are in it."^ What is the domain Second, the urban environment considered
of application of this relation? It is the city in its formal characteristics led to a tentative
seen as a moving reality, at the intersection of formulation of a correct geometry of the city.

dialectic pairs of facts. 'This opposition . . . The preeminence of geometry implies the
manifests itself, in different ways, in the vision of the city as a stage set for the human
relationship between the public and the pri- existence. Man cannot fulfill himself in
vate spheres, in the antagonism between the isolation but only within the ordered whole of
elaboration of a rational project of urban the community, the same way a limb cannot
architecture and the values of locus of the function when severed from the body. The
place, in the public buildings and in the flow of visible social and cultural forms is
private buildings.'"' Finally, the depository of pushed aside to reveal a deeper stratum of
civic behavior and ensuing general human interaction took place around the courtyard
values. Because they are generalities, (at the core of the dwelling) and the
applicable to most human associations, community interaction happened in a similar
these can be formalized in terms of but larger structure, such as the agora, or
proportion between the One and the Multiple, forum (at the core of the city). In such cases
and finally can be given a spatial shell. 'The "we might almost infer the existence of a kind
aesthetic value of the different spatial types is of social ritual, which produces a perfect
as independent of short-lived functional match between the individual and the
concerns as it is of symbolic interpretations collectivity."'' In the Aristotelian tradition
which may vary from one age to the next":'^ politics embodies this social ritual, by
rather, the geometry of the spatial type is regulating the interaction of private and
based on formal logic relations inferred by the public interests under the reign of justice:
interaction of the One and the Multiple. What "... the real difference between man and
is intrinsic to a space is not its usage nor its other animals is that humans alone have per-
symbolism, but its geometry. Moreover, in a ception of good and evil, of just and unjust,
society where there is no divorce between the etc. It is the sharing of a common view in
private and public spheres, similar spatial these matters that makes a household and a
arrangements (although different in scale) state,"* and "the virtue of justice is a feature
will respond to the pursuits of the citizen and of the state, for justice is the arrangement of
to those of the community. For instance, in the political association. . .
."^ The highest
classical Mediterranean lifestyle, the family form of political association is the state.

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whose hub is the polis, and so we can refor-
mulate this, in architectural terms: in the
Classical tradition geometry embodies the
social ritual, by regulating the interaction of
the One and the Multiple, under the reign of
proportion (or, more precisely, symmetry in
the Vitruvian sense, as we shall see later). If

we accept the identity of values and conse-

quent behavior at individual and civic levels

("household and state") it becomes logical to

seek a correspondent architectural unity for
the settings of private and public lives. Sitte,

and the Neo-Rationalists searched for


urbanism (of Greek

this unity in traditional
and Roman ascent) and so were compelled to
rehabilitate voids, i.e., streets and squares,
as spaces for living and civic interaction. In
order to give them the identity of "places" (and
the shape of "urban rooms") the urban blocks
which define the edges of streets and squares
again became solid and homogeneous. And
so, the continuity of the city in space was

A vision of the city as an urban continuum is

emerging, on the basis of a clearly articulated modem movement. The disenchantment of
geometry of urban blocks and public spaces the Modernists with the cozy feeling of.
whose layout is an ideogram of the "locus." walled-in traditional streets and squares is

Where do modem cities stand in relation to notorious,and there is extensive evidence in

these facts? It is evident that many recent postwar urbanism of their contribution to
public spaces do not stimulate the kind of the dissolution of the family, neighborhood,
complex and eventful life that the traditional and community concentric domains. In
examples provide. One reason is that most of other words, they eliminated the successive
the rituals and events that used to gather the steps that led the citizen from his threshold,
community (such as festivals, celebrations, through larger and larger social and corre-
games, and politica] activities) are now sponding spatial structures, to his final
relegated to specialized indoor spaces which destination, the city hall. It is only fair to
restrict potential behavioral patterns. The remember that if they did so, it was for
outdoor public space is mostly experienced humanitarian reasons. The ideal relation-
as an itinerary from one destination to ship of the citizen to his city was forgotten in
another and no longer as space for the years after World War 1, when large
interaction. Our streets and squares have urban areas were the promiscuous habitat
lost their capacity, both in terms of credibility of the proletariat. Intervention was badly
and good form, to support social mixing and needed, and the Modernist architects at-
cultural improvisation. A second reason for tempted, within the limits which society
the dullness of contemporary civic spaces is impressed upon them, to give everyone an
that much of the art of shaping them has equal share of floor and sky areas. Their
been forgotten. Rather, practice has been mass architecture, tangled up in the myths
(and still is, to a regrettable extent) a mean- of industry and progress, joined forces with
ingless formalism, partially indebted to the the streams of mass production, mass con-
academic concept of symmetry, partially due sumption, and mass communication to form
to the elimination of urban clusters by the together the megalopolis. For the individual
(whom we don't dare call a citizen anymore), frontage. From here develops a powerful
the end benefit is the apoplectic sensation of force of habit: the desire to see every
stepping out of his private life into a world of monument in the center of a vacant space."'"
transportation lines, chain stores, financial This vision of space as juxtaposed fragments
conglomerates, and round-the-clock media (very different from the urban continuum
solicitation. We are far from the simplicity of described before) is related to a peculiar use
the cluster in which Rapoport (see note 2) was of symmetry. Since its formulation in
seeking diminution of urban stress. antiquity, symmetry responded to the
concept that a composition should be a
The contribution of the academists to the structured whole. For this purpose it needs
alteration of the geometry of traditional cities a unifying rule that should establish similar
is more subtle. Camillo Sitte elaborately relations between the whole and each of its

criticizes them, mostly from the position of parts as well as between the different parts
who sought diversity.
the medieval planner themselves; ". . . it is not possible to combine
Meanwhile we have come to accept the two things properly without the third to act as
rational repetitiveness of urban blocks, as in a bond to hold them together. And the best
Cerda's plan for Barcelona, a system which bond is one that effects the closest unity

Sitte seemed to reject. "The effective between and the terms it is combining;

enclosures of space, deriving as it does from and this is best done by a continued
the historical evolution of an original geometrical proportion."' From here derives '

unbroken street front (such as it still exists the classical esthetic canon, as embodied in
today in villages), continued to be the basis of the concept of symmetry, which literally
all dispositions in the old towns. Modem city meant "with measure" in the original Greek.
planning follows the opposite tendency of The rule of symmetry in architecture,
dissection into separate blocks (building understood as proportioning based on the
block, piazza block, garden block), each one analogy (not identity) of the parts in the
being clearly circumscribed by its street composition, appears as a direct application
of Plato's statement to form-making. Vitru-
vius gives a formulation of the rule; for the
argument he appeals to the human body as
an ideal example of organized form whose
symmetry is due to the likeness of its parts
regulated by a common denominator, the
module: The ordinance of a building
consists in the proportioning which is to be
carefully observed by architects. Now, the
proportion depends on the ratio the Greeks
call analogy; and by ratio we understand the
subordination of dimensions to the module,
in the entire body of the work, insofar as all

proportions are ruled, because a building will

never be well ordered if it doesn't include this
proportion and ratio and if all its parts are not
in relation to each other like those of a human
body well formed."'^ Beauty is to be found in
that "which remains similar to itself in the
diversity of evolution," or, more
geometrically, in order which is unity within
300 replaces the organic unity achieved by
This vision of freedom and cohesion largely living group formations. In the reliefs of the
differs from the compositional rules of the Arch of Galerius in Thessalonika . . . , the
nineteenth century. Symmetry came to be endeavor is manifest to symmetrize the
understood as identity of respective parts, composition around the Emperor. . .
."'^ I*
right and left ofThe tyranny of this
an axis. the same way are approached architectural
concept impoverished the form, and turned structures, as illustrated by the axial

the polyphony of the Greek symmetry into a ensembles of the Early Christian basilicas
single-line melody. It also impoverished the and Diocletian's palace at Spoleto; one can
possibilities for exploring the space by see why such spaces, where the architect
making the central line the only relevant seems to hold the visitor's hand and lead him
approach to it. It is interesting and it should on a predetermined path, may be felt as
be remembered that, due to its volitive formal simplistic and oppressive. In the best of

qualities, axial symmetry has often organized cases, a modulation of perceptions occurs as
space for the benefit of power. For this one proceeds along the path (axis), almost as
reason, the relation between civic life and in an initiation journey: In some basilicas of
spatial forms is most visible in times of the time, the capitals became increasingly
change, when the multi-polar rule of complex as one approached the altar through
democratic institutions turns into a one- the main nave. These are not spaces of
party (or one-man) system, and the citizen freedom, but of implacable destiny.
becomes a subject. As an illustration, we can
mention the significant changes in While reviewing these facts, 1 have attempted
architecture and sculpture in the late Roman to suggest that geometry is a decisive factor in
art at the end of the third century. The advent the perception and utilization of space for
of axial symmetry coincided then with the social purposes. This is particularly true for
centralization of power by the emperor," . . . the open civic spaces which are the subject of
judge of the world, cosmocrator. . . . these notes. The streets and squares of
Particularly characteristic of the new type of traditional cities played the role of social
composition is the mechanical unity catalysts: here people of different conditions
achieved by symmetry which around the year and ideologies would meet, confront, and
adjust to each other in free and unpredictable education, wealth, etc. The elderly commu-
associations. The ability of an urban space to nity, the low-income housing, even univer-
allow or even enhance free interaction makes sity campuses can achieve an unnatural
it suitable for the practice of democracy or, separation of the social body. The child learn
otherwise, indifferent or even adverse to it. It from the old, the poor redeems at the example
is true that democracy is not a consequence of the lucky who, in turn, learns compassion
of but rather a cause for the existence of from the unfortunate. It seems that interac-
"spaces of freedom." Nevertheless, once the tion within mixed groups increases self-

right political premises are established, the awareness and civic responsibility. At least
well-being of a community is influenced by the ancients believed so: "Plato ordained that
the capacity of its citizens to interact, at least in all crossways there should be spaces left

in a system which pursues the happiness of for Nurses to meet with their Children. His
the majority. Whereas it appears that Design in this Regulation was, I suppose. . .

interaction now takes place now in narrowly . that the Nurses themselves, by seeing one
institutionalized indoor spaces, with definite another, might grow neater and more deli-
purposes which address specific strata of the cate, and be less liable to Negligence among
society. The result may very well be a too many careful Observers in the Same
segregation of the community in restrictive Business. It is certain, one of the greatest
user categories, to which people elect (or are Ornaments either of a Square or of a Cross-
forced) to belong according to their age. way,is a handsome Portico, under which the

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between these and certain urban
developments of the Middle Ages in central

and southern Europe. Finally, a description

of the compositional principles of numerous

examples of medieval squares, sometimes
including their historic evolution down to the
baroque period. The work is completed with
an elaborate criticism of modem (nineteenth-
century) urbanism and consequent
suggestions for improvement.

Sitte belongs to the broad category of

old Men may spend the Heat of the Day, or be humanists who believe that the
mutually serviceable to each other; besides fundamentals of our institutions are
that, the Presence of the Fathers may deter developments of forms initiated in Greco-

and restrain the Youth, who are sporting and Roman antiquity. In urbanism, these forms
diverting themselves in another part of the display with forceful clarity the relationship
Place, from the Mischievousness and Folly between a social ideal and its faithful, almost
natural to their Age."''' By contrast, rather diagrammatic, translation into civic spaces.

than encouraging people to confront and Sitte is attached to this social ideal,

adjust to each other, current urban design synonymous in the classical tradition with
and regulations tend to set them up in the purpose of the state and with its

parallel worlds. Chances are that they will concentrated manifestation, the city. The
only meet at the supermarket. How can a city-state embodies a seductive idea: Sitte

community whose members avoid mentions Aristotle, for whom the highest
interaction and confrontation between age, objective was to offer the citizens security and
cultural, economic, and other groups achieve happiness. In this regard, the author feels
tolerance and integration for all its members? entitled to present cases such as the Fora in

If these are desirable goals, can architects, by Pompeii and Rome and the Agora in Athens
a revision of urbcin regulations and design as typological examples of civic spaces. Here
approaches, contribute to the creation of we are to distinguish between two situations.
"spaces of democracy"? Whereas the complex at the bottom of the
Acropolis took shape over several hundred
We can now attempt answer the question
to years, the Forum in Pompeii came about, in
previously asked, namely, can historic urban its main features, in almost one gesture
spaces be a negative mirror to the weakness during the second century B.C. Moreover,
of social interaction in many of our cities? Sitte is mostly concerned with compositional
The answer can be an individual's and only rules and does not insist on the political and
his, as the travel that reveals it. cultural differences between the polls and the
empire. Nevertheless, as we have suggested
The Travel above, these differences have repercussions
. . . through I>ombardia, Emilia-Romagna, on the geometry of the space and on the way
andToscana, in the path oi The Art ofBuilding it is experienced. As the development of the
Cities. argument proves, the author is reacting to
the triviallzation of public space, reduced to
Although a century old, itseems that Sitte's leftover areas between buildings and traffic

book has remained an unsurpassedly lanes. Against the predominantly specula-

insightful and rich description of medieval tive and technical urban practice of his con-
city form. His approach to the subject is temporaries, Sitte opposes a civic set of val-
articulated by three elements of ues as symbolized in the antique architecture
demonstration: a succinct presentation of of the city square.
antique urban spaces, followed by an analogy
square and the public palace square describe
a particular relationship of the two power
poles. The architecture the period was in-

tended to be responsive to political behavior:

as public life had lost the occult character it

had under the rule of the church or the Holy

Empire, the new civic spaces were designed
for the interaction of a diversified and respon-
sible social body. We can assume that in
northern and central Italy there were historic
precedents which facilitated the implementa-
quo based on dialogue
tion of a social status

As illustrations, he turns to certain small and and participation rather than on imposition
middle-sized cities of Germany, France, and and exclusion. The geographical and politi-
especially northern Italy. Here he finds the cal fragmentation of the area, the incessant

same congruent relationship between public chess game of alliances and conflicts between
life and spaces as in the polls. As in the case the Holy Empire, the Pope, the landlords, and
of the former, many of these cities enjoyed the communes, might have resulted in a
economic wealth (based on manufacturing vacuum of authority which favored the con-
and commerce) coupled with political auton- tinuation of Roman municipal traditions (the
omy. Then followed the advent of local gov- area was already romanized in the second
ernments, reelected periodically: this, plus century B.C.). After the fall of the Empire in

the welfare of a large section of the popula- the fifth century, the Goths, and after them
tion, eventually led to the transformation of the Lombards, assimilated many of the
the merchants/craftsmen into citizen bur- Roman institutions. There is a basis for the
gesses of a sovereign commune. Democratic supposition that this was particularly true
public life gained in importance and spaces for the building trades, since the Lombards
were created to respond to the need for public had no architecture of their own. Arthur
interaction. Previously, and in northern It- Kingsley Porter, in a study on Lombard archi-
aly, the situation started to change during tecture, mentions an expression which casts
the eleventh to twelfth centuries; the cities some light on the identity of the master
were controlled by autocratic landlords. builders of the seventh century. In a set of

When the cities gained independence and laws, the Lombard King Rotari (636-652)
transferred political power to elected councils names them "magistri comacini." This de-
and consuls, a new building type appeared, scription is similar to the name of the Isola
the public palace, designed for the activity of Comacina, meaning "of Como," which is stiU

the commune. In certain cases, the former used. Porter wrote, "It is known that the Isola
landlord was a bishop who also assumed the Comacina, the only island on the lake of
prerogatives of a laic master, namely ruling Como, was frequently the last resort of refu-

the cityand making war. The new govern- gees in the time of invasion. By an easy flight

ments forced the power slowly out of the of fancy, therefore, it was conjectured that
church's hand, and this is why we often find there all the masons from the entire Roman
two distinct urban nuclei, one around the world had taken refuge from the Lom-
cathedral, the other at the communal palace, bards."'^ It might not have been true for the

each with its adjacent square. The regional entire Empire, but it was probably correct for
differences can be significant in the area, and the area that concerns us. Moreover, Porter
so varied solutions were given to the equation mentions a second etymology which desig-
of power between church and state. But nates builders by their geographical origin.
whether they are physically separated as in "In later times the valley of Antelaml, in the

Parma and Lucca, adjacent as in Pistoia and Apennines, came to be renowned for its car-

Bergamo, or together in the same space as in penters. In the laws of Genoa, the term
Pienza and Montepulciano, the cathedral 'magistri antelami' is the regular form used to
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indicate builders, not only of timber edifices, For this reason, the definition of the edges
but of those of stone as well."'^ At the same and comers is essential and should be
time, we know from thirteenth-century con- achieved with continuous built alignments, a
tracts that mastership was, in many cases, minimum number of streets entering the
passed down from father to son. Therefore, piazza and the use of porches, gates, angled
we can assume that behind the resurgence of streets, and other devices which would limit
municipal life and architecture of the com- the possibility of viewing out of it.

munes there is the presence of a strong

Roman tradition. Any monument associated with a piazza
should be placed on the edge of the space,
Through his description of urban spaces, partially or totally engulfed by the other
Sitte leads us to a similar conclusion, since buildings. Its center should be left empty as
most of the compositional themes he men- much as possible, since it is the best place for
tions belong to both classical and communal one to stand and have a total experience of
public spaces: the square.

A piazza, in order to be a space suitable for A piazza can be conceived as a system of

human interaction, should be enclosed, thus adjacent and communicating spaces, where
giving a feeling of visual control and one element is dominant and the others
security. dominated.
In some of the northern Italian medieval ture, pavement) give depth to spaces, stress
cities, the main facade of building is not certain directions, create rhythms, and a
necessarily associated with the largest public feeling of scale.
open space, mainly due to slow construction
in time. Also, two or more adjacent institu- Another aspect, which is as much an ethical
tions could face their own individual open as an architectural one, is the historic gen-
spaces, not unified into a single piazza, but eration of these spaces. Different periods,
rather independent. Finally, the proportions styles, and functions succeeded each other in
of squcires are important elements. In order time, usually building upon the achieve-
to achieve the "urban room" image, the ments of the previous periods. Without
medieval piazza usually has a relatively small trying to be moralistic, 1 would call this
footprint. The horizontal dimensions of the understanding and respect for the past, this

interior public spaces served by the piazza conception of urbanity where the values of
are comparable to, or even larger than, those the community come ahead of those of a
of the piazza itself (especially in the case of generation or of an individual, admirable.
churches). The height-to-width ratio is often
in favor of the edges versus the width of the The classical city contained the prototypical
square. forms of the urban world: the urban block,
the street, and the square. Their forms were
Sitte was not concerned with the architec- ordered and concise, and displayed a bal-
tural details of his spaces. His analysis anced proportion between repetitive and
focused on geometry, which he considered unique elements, between the private and the
the main lesson we can learn from our prede- public domains. It was this proportion that

cessors. would add to this that smaller-

1 made cities beautiful, for it revealed a hu-
scale architectural elements have their im- manistic ideology: man, the "political ani-
portance, because they can enhance or mal," could attain security and happiness
contradict a general geometry. The size and only in cooperation with his fellow citizens,
color of details (masonry, ornaments, sculp- "for even if the good of the community coin-

cides with that of the individual, it is clearly Notes

a greater and more perfect thing to achieve 1 Calvino, Italo Invisible Cities.
and preserve that of a community.""'
2 Rapoport, Amos Human Aspects of Urban
Architecture followed politics closely: resi- Form Pergamon Press 1977, p. 226.
dential blocks were repetitive and homogene-
ous, and public spaces, even when monu- 3 Rossi, Aldo The Architecture of the City MIT
mental and dignified, were shaped to encour- Press (Cambridge, Mass.) 1982, p. 129.
age people to interact in free and spontane-
ous groups. With similar clarity, the free 4 ibid., p. 8.

cities of the eleventh to fourteenth centuries

and of the early Renaissance displayed their 5 ibid., p. 171
concern with achieving an effective social

mixing in their public spaces. 6 Krier, Rob UrbanSpace Rizzoli 1979, p. 19.

Architects have the knowledge (and the cities 7 ibid., p. 17.

of the past are here to prove it) to shape a

correct urban environment. We only need to 8 Aristotle The Politics. 1253 a7.
gain, somehow, the credibility and the politi-
cal leverage that will enable us to implement 9 ibid. 1253 a29.
the "spaces of democracy."
10 Sitte, Camillo City Planning According to

Artistic Principles Random House (New York)

1965, p. 103.

1 Plato Timaeus. p. 32.

12 Vitruvius Ten Books ofArchitecture Book

III, Chapter 1.

13 L'Orange, H. P. Art Forms and Civic Life

in the Late Roman Empire Princeton
University Press 1965, p. 92.

14 Albert! Ten Books of Architecture Book

VII. Chapter VI.

15 Porter, Arthur Kingsley Lorr^bard

Architecture Yale University Press (New
Haven) 1917, p. 9.

16 ibid., p. 11.

17 Aristotle Ethics 1094 a22.

All drawings by the author.

Transformation, Nostalgia, and
Illusion About Public Life and
Public Environments

Michael Brill This paper is the text of a keynote address The First Scout's Report
state University given at the eighteenth annual meeting of the Starting out, 1 examined the mandate. It
of New York at Buffalo
Environmental Design Research Association contains some assumptions, which are: that
(EDRAj. Ottawa. Canada. June 1987. A re- public environments are a category of envi-
vised version appears in Public Space and ronments distinct from private: that govern-
Place, Volumea series: Human Behavior
II in ment has a special mandate regarding public
and Environment, published by Plenum Pub- environments; and that government could
lishing Corp.. New York. have the private sector carry out part of this
mandate. These assumptions now seem less
The editors wish to thank Plenum for permis- true. And, I made some additional and obvi-
sion to publish this article. ous assumptions:

My mandate: Several months ago, the EDRA That public environments are those places
sponsors asked me to talk about public which affect, somehow, public life. And that
environments . . . arising naturally from the a satisfying public life is important to us still.

conference's sponsorship . . . public sector

government. Their letter to me suggested 1 That public life performs several functions: It

discuss issues of: all public environments: is a forum . . . where the individual's private
government's role in provision of environ- pursuit of happiness gets constantly bal-
ments for public users ... for multiple users anced by the rules of fairness and reason
... for varied functions: and because of the directed to the common good: and it is group
economic limits of the public sector, how the action .where people come together both to
. .

private sector can be instruments of public be power, and to symbolize their power; it is
policy to provide public environments: and a school for social learning, where the range
because of EDRA's contributions and per- of permissible behaviors gets explored: and it
spective, how research relates to all this. is where the Stranger is met on Common
My role: I conceived of my role as that of a
Scout . . . some
sent out by the tribe to look at And, given our penchant for interweaving
them and bring back a
territory of interest to and integration, public life is also about
report. really have two reports.
I One is learning of all kinds, about work, markets
smooth, where what found seemed coher- 1 and commerce, and, very largely, pleasure.

ent. The second is rough and more disturb-

ing, where simple assumptions come undone Within this framework of assumptions, I

and it is hard to make intellectual distinc- think Public Environments can be usefully
tions hold still. It is much stranger territory thought of in a four-fold way:
than I thought.
1. As places used for the common good or ambivalence toward the city, and its public
affecting it; places accessible to and shared places. Thus, it tends not to recognize public
by a diversity of people and open to general life elsewhere than in the city, or outside of
observation; an arena for a social life apart the cities' normative public places.
from friends or family.
There is often a condescending attitude . . .

2. As being the public's interest that all that we Americans want to see how public

environments protect people's health, safety, life and public place is done really well, we

and welfare, including people of limited and must go to Europe's urban centers always, . . .

diverse capabilities. it seems, to the Piazza di San Marco or Milan's

Galleria and that, if we do this homework,

. . .

3. As how the public is involved in decisions we might be able to have that kind of public
about all our environments. life here. 1 will call this attitude "Euro-
Urbanist." Euro-Urbanists recognize public
4. As the delivery of services to the public, no life as that which happens in the street,
matter how they're paid for. square, and park, and tend not to recognize
it in other places.

Public Life is what this four-fold public envi-

ronment must support, so I've spent much of 1 note that while public life is always consid-
my time on this project exploring the relation- ered desirable, it is seldom clearly described.
ships between public life and public environ-
ments. Thus, my first thinking and set of As well, some of these readings suggest a
readings, scholarly, popular, and persuasive, parallel loss of private life, and many suggest
were about public life and later about . . . loss of neighborhood life. And there seems to
public places, ancient and modem, and how be some mistaking the loss of neighborhood
we provide them. When look at the readings, I life with that of public life, increasing the
as a set, they tend to embody certain ideas, mourning and nostalgia. ^
which are;
What could these ideas possibly mean? Do
The literature of public life is a literature of we not have public life? What has been lost?

loss. ... it contains a widespread acceptance It is seldom articulated, and then not clearly.

of the idea that there has been a substantial The most pervasive and, frankly, appealing

loss of public life . . . and while some think it image of public life is the one our Euro-
is recent, the idea that we have already lost Urbanists tend to offer. But 1 think that image
public life is one in good currency over 100 is an illusion now, and moreover, was already

years ago. an illusion a long time ago and think that . . . I

sustaining this illusion prevents us from

There is widespread mourning for this public seeing our real public life more clearly, and
and much nostalgia for it, and many
life this prevents us from using our public re-

schemes are offered, mostly by architects, to sources more wisely.

retrieve it.

I suggest this illusion comes from the movies,

It is suggested that this loss of public life has from popular and romantic fiction, from his-
already had major, negative consequences for tory and travel books, from trips to Europe,
our society, and we should guard carefully and from photographs in National Geo-
against further loss if we wish the proper graphic and coffee-table travel books. We've
maturation of individuals and the proper put together, in a romanticized jumble, a set
functioning of society. Some, but little, evi- of images of many forms of public life from
dence is offered that this is actually the case. different times; a Platonic Ideal of peripatetic
discourse on the aesthetics of justice in the
This discourse about public life is embedded Greek stoa . . . combined with movie images
in the discourse about cities, and reflects our of romantically hurly-burly, urban street

scenes set in a timeless "anytime" from the actions with strangers, silence in public be-
Middle Ages to the Renaissance combined . . . came the rule, where strangers have no right

with Parisian Boulevardiers. elegantly and to speak to each other, where each person
daringly dressed, witty sophisticated cosmo- has the right to be left alone, a fairly recent
politans, holding court in cafes combined . . . right. Thus, public behavior has today be-
with Citizen Tom Payne leading a crowd of come more about observation, passive par-
citizens to correct actions. And, this image of ticipation, voyeurism, spectating and . . .

wildly diverse public life comes packaged in a knowledge gained in public becomes more
composite and picturesque setting, and. of visual, a matter of observation, rather than
course, with the filth and squalor removed. through social intercourse . . . giving us the
modem paradox of visibility and isolation . .

The public life that has supposedly been lost . the Space of Appearance.
is imagined and longed for as if it were all one
thing, when it may well have been several But, even with this loss of civility, we are
separate strands of a public life, less inter- clearly still and have not
Citizens of Affairs,
connected than in our popular image of it. In lost the power to come together and to act

trying to dismantle this composite image of together. For ill or good, we do act ... in
lost public life, 1 see three separate strands, neighborhood associations, PTA's, boards of
interwoven in our longing into one dreamt local institutions, stockholders' meetings,
composite. town meetings, common council meetings,
protest or support marches and campaigns,
ril personify these three strands of public life in special interest groups, and we routinely
as the Citizen of Affairs, the Citizen of Com- challenge public servants, and we often toss
merce and Pleasure, and the Familiar Citizen. the rascals out. But the testing and forming
of opinion, and the taking of action does not,
Richard Sennett best models the Citizen of as it once often did, rest on civility, nor does

Affairs for us in his vision of a public life ithappen primarily in the street or square. It
based on civility, the activity which protects happens in a wide variety of places, which
people from each other and yet allows them to become, for that moment, public environ-
enjoy each other's company, and makes it ments, and some of these are not "physical"
possible for people to act together as citizens places at all.

in the affairs of the city. At civility's base was

the right to talk to strangers while not bur- The second strand of our image of public life,
dening them with the cabinet-of-horrors of the Citizen of Commerce and Pleasure, re-
your own inner life, all citizens thus protected mains very vigorous in a nation dedicated,
by the convention of The Mask of Civility. largely, to Consumption as Spectacle. Festi-

val markets, and the more temporary green-

Civility among citizens helps people to learn markets, are doing well in every city, as are
to act impersonally, to join with other persons the many new indoor public rooms in major
in social and political action, without the cities, all acting as food fairs and retail mar-
modem compulsion to know them as per- kets for recreational shopping, and places to
sons. hang out, and, generally, all private enter-

Sennett. deTocquevllle. Arendt. Trilling, and

Riesman, each and all. trace the several- The image this public life is based on comes
hundred-year transformation of the public in a bright, romanticized version we like and
portion of life, with most seeing it as a decline a darker one we conveniently forget. The
(or "fall" or "loss"). Sennett traces the com- bright vision is of the hurly-burly, highly
plex transformation, emphasizing a loss of populated street, from one of our period
civility, in the modem quest for "personality" movies, an urban street scene. The scene
and an inner life. Because people started to mixes spectacle, entertainment, eating,
worry that their inner cabinet of horrors drinking, and amorous pleasure . . . with
would spill out uncontrollably in their inter- marketing, commerce, and work . . . with
passionate religious and political activity . . . These horrible realities fueled a public health
with exchanging news and information . . . reform and an anti-street movement, which
and being expressive and aggressive in en- wanted to bring countryside to the masses,
counters with strangers . . . Life as Theater. and they promoted environments with less
crowding, more light and air, and more con-
The scene is wildly diverse, teeming, lusty, tact with nature, manifested in this century
exhilarating, where the rich array of informa- in a visionary architecture of tall housing
tion, the demands made on all the senses, the towers set in a green and sunny park, often
close physical contact, the movement, the without streets at all. We've built lots of these.
frequent and highly personal interchange,
make this image of public life irresistibly

exciting and adventurous. This image of No one was able to protect the street from the
public life was, of course, only partly true, anger directed against it. It has had few
and then not for everybody. Streets of the advocates. And so, there is less public life in

more affluent were far less interesting than our cities' streets, . . . there is activity, but
this image, and the streets of the poor, they're used now as conduits for movement
monstrous. And the middle classes rode more than as places. They do get used as
through the streets in closed carriages to places when attempts are made to do so, . .

avoid harassment, before there was a mu- . where local events are planned parades,
nicipal constabulary. block parties, block-long garage sales but
except for our "urban villages," there is less

Social critics and writers of those times, normal use of street-as-place.

showing us the horrible reality of the streets

of the poor, make it quite clear that part of The third strand, the Familiar Citizen, is not
public life could not be what we want. really about a loss of public life but about loss
of "familiar," local, social life, where people
Friedrich Engels, in The Condition of the are not strangers to each other. It is outsida
Working Class in England in 1 845. describing the family life but family life is its model. 1

this life in the streets, says his description suspect that much of what we mourn Is not
was "far from black enough to convey a true really public life at all, not a life of the city, but
impression of the filth, ruin, and uninhabita- this small-scale neighborhood life. It has gone
bleness, the defiance of all considerations of because economic principles of organization
cleanliness, ventilation, and health. . .
." have largely replaced social ones.

Charles Kingsley, writing in Alton Locke. These two act as polar opposites, where a
Tailorand Poet, in 1850, is more descriptive: social mode of organization relates and
"It was a foul, chilly, foggy Saturday night. unites people with personal ties and an eco-
From the butchers' and greengrocers' shops, nomic mode of organization separates people
the gas lights flickered and flared, wild and and things into distinct commodities. Each
ghastly, over haggard groups of slip-shod social relation is unique, personal, irreplace-

dirty women bargaining for scraps of stale able; each commodity is impersonal, impar-
meat. . . . Fish shops and fruit stalls lined the tially selected, and interchangeable with all

edge of the greasy pavement, sending up others, separating us from other people. . . .

odors as foul as the language of sellers and Alienation. And every time we go to the
buyers. Blood and sewer water crawled from supermarket, rather than our comer grocer,
under doors and out of spouts, and reeked we reinforce economic principles at the ex-
down the gutters among offal, animal, and pense of social ones.
vegetable, in every stage of putrefaction . . .

while above, hanging like cliffs over the Except in the small town, some suburbs, and
streets those narrow, brawling torrents of for our "urban villagers," these social prin-

filth, and and sin the houses with

poverty, ciples of organization have largely given way
their teeming load of life were piled up into the to economic principles of organization, the
dingy, choking night." American business ethic. And so, many have
lost, or never knew, and yet still long for this 1 would argue that public life here and in
social life, and may confuse this loss with that Europe has gone through a transformation,
of public life. but it is not a decline, and that this has not
been recent, but has taken, so far, three
Further, there are many who feel the loss of. hundred years. Of course, there will be
or nostalgia for an actual, traditional /amify continued transformation, wath public life

life. The facts are that the traditional family and environments of a different character
is now a statistical oddity, since family struc- than before.
ture and family life have undergone massive
transformation. Industrial capitalism, along Dire predictions about the negative psycho-
with other forces, altered the family pro- social and cultural consequences of the loss
foundly. Young people leave it earlier;
. . . of our public life have been made for genera-

wives and mothers become independent tions, yet is there evidence that we are actu-
economically: the family is scattered in ally worse off now than when public life
space, in experiences, and in interests; and flourished in say, its eighteenth-century
as these family-unifying forces are dissi- forms? (Dare anyone suggest we might even
pated, its members are more isolated. be better off?)

The mourning for neighborhood life and for The public life we have now is richer and more
family life must reinforce, and may even be diverse than the Euro-Urbanlsts see or will
mistaken for, the supposed loss of public life. acknowledge. But it is not much like the one
they want, or our romantic visions of one. . .

. that public life was not wholly transplanted

In examining these three strands of our here, and that which was. often took uniquely
image and reality of public life. I'd conclude North American forms.

Our European forebears did have a highly

Some of this public life has. indeed, been lost interactive and vigorous public life based in
and we can't get it back, because we've the Common Ground of the street and the
changed, and now can't have it. or don't want square, and later, in the park. By the 1600s.
it. (We tend not to really don The Mask other public life started to be transformed by pow-
than in Corporate Life or the Singles Bar). erful and pervasive psychosocial and eco-
nomic phenomena, and the street, the
Some of this public life has been lost because square, and the park begin to loosen their
it was squalid, dangerous, and unhealthy, hold on some of public life.
and its loss is a good thing. (Engels was right
about a lot of things.) After the great fires in London and Paris,

around 1670. these cities were rebuilt by

Much of this public life has been trans- developers given special incentives and au-
formed, yet many mourn it as a loss because Houses built for the bourgeoisie

they don't recognize it in its new form, or in its around open squares became the preferred
new place. And some of it is not place-based. layout, and for the first time, developers,

(Are teenagers hanging out in the shopping some of them royalty, were able to have most
mall not engaged in public life? Are radio call- public activities strictly forbidden from the
in shows discussing AIDS or the Contras not new squares.
public life?)

By the early 1700s. the largest ciUes in the

Much of this public life is still quite with us. world were all growing from swift in-migra-
and in forms that any person from Medieval tion, developing networks of sociability out-
times on would recognize instantly. (Gorging side of royal control, and becoming cities of

on fried chicken with strangers at a trestle strangers. And. by this time, walking in the
table at a county fair is archetypal public streets, seeing and being seen by strangers,

festive gluttony.) became a major social activity. The streets

could not always comfortably support this ieffouerfrom the process of building. . .which
activity, with their wooden sidewalks, often in diffuses any sense that they are outdoor
disrepair, and with the violence which often "rooms," to be used.
erupted in the absence of a police force, and
so large urban public parks were built for This physical form is in strong contrast to the
these promenades. older European cities, where public open
spaces are defined first and the city fabric

Characteristic behaviors in the parks were built around them. Camillo Sitte describes

observation of strangers passing by, and the these older cities as a relatively undifferenti-
fleeting verbal encounter, much different ated solid mass with public spaces "carved"
than previous behavior which had been out, a set of designed voids connected by
characterized by more sustained discus- streets, providing a rhythmic choreographic
sions, verbal posturing, and political and sequence, a continuity of spaces where the . . .

social interchange in the streets, squares, street and square are three-dimensional
coffeehouses, and cafes. rooms for public life.

By the mid- 1800s, the street, losing its at- In these European cities, the facades of build-
traction for the well-to-do, and always the ings are obligated both to enclose the outdoor
place of public life for the poor, is seen as an public space and to signify private space . . .

urban pathology to be excised ... by social the facade becomes willing background for
critics, reformers, and visionaries, and by public space, a gesture of civility. (What
those who thought to control the peculiar American architect readily consents to pro-

affinity of the poor for revolution. ducing a "background" building?) In most of

America, facades do nof enclose public space,
America's founders and waves of subsequent but only signify private space, and wrap, to
settlers came, then, from this background, enclose buildings-as-objects situated in rela-
with this sense of a public life already trans- tively unarticulated open space.
forming and with changing ideas about
public environments.
Gutman reminds us most North Ameri-
In this new and endless wilderness, the mode can interest in the has always been

of spatial expression most natural and native fLUO-dimensional, because speculators,

to Americans is the singular identity of free bankers, developers, politicians, and engi-
and independent equals. When we were neers conceive of the street primarily in terms
rebellious colonies, our architecture was of its capacity to stimulate the market in land
freed from spatial dependence on old-world values by providing access to each and every
models. The spatial language of even our land parcel through transportation. This grid
dense settlements, early on, is mostly about of streets, within a larger grid of land, is a way
free-standing buildings, with the "interval" or of creating a very large number of small

distance between them as our characteristic holdings, and thus establishing individual
motif of urbanism, an interval which reso- identity.

nates with the sacredness of our beliefs in

private property and free enterprise. J. B. Jackson continues to point out the

peculiar quirk In our national character

which causes us to ouer-celebrate individual-
The interval is manifested today by America's ity, and to minimize the role played by cities,

zoning envelopes, seldom used in Europe, towns, and work communities in the forma-
which strictly mandate that there be front, tion of American character, life, and land-
rear, and side yards, and fix their sizes, scape. He says, "We forget that Jamestown
making of most structures objects in space. and Plymouth came before the pioneer farm
And while we did make and designate or the log cabin in the forest, and that inter-
squares and commons for public use, much dependence in America came before Inde-
of the open space in our cities is that which is pendence."
With others, Jackson points out that there primarily in the street, the square, and the
has always been substantial public life in the park.
churches, fraternal associations, fire compa-
nies, and political groups in the small town We've chosen not to live at the high densities
and suburb, and he even suggests that there that support such public life. Comparing
is public life on the franchise strip. But our U.S. density with that of countries whose
Euro-Urbanists still suggest that it is only the public life is vastly admired, the French have
rooms and indoor streets
creation of outdoor four times as many people per square mile:
that would make public life more possible the Italians, eight, the English, ten; and
here. Holland, Ji/teen times as many. And Canada
has one tenth the U.S. density.
We will probably build very few more Piazzas
di San Marco or Rockefeller Centers or But wherever and however public life occurs,
Toronto City Hall Squares, the great, outdoor it still maintains its primary goals: spectacle,
public rooms their success depends on
... for entertainment, and pleasure: marketing,
great local density, and we're experiencing a commerce, and work: shaping public con-
population redistribution which decreases cepts of governance, religion, and social

density in many urban centers. Conversely, structure: exchanging information: and

in those cities where daytime density remains learning from face-to-face encounters with
high, the land is often too precious to be strangers. A few examples of new forms of
aggregated to form a new grand space. (New public life, or old forms in non-traditional
York City couldn't use its formidable powers places, are:
of incentive zoning to aggregate small spaces
into one large space.) Many successful newspapers publish several
editions, each one targeted to a county or
We should recognize that, in general, Ameri- community, so in addition to carrying na-

can affluence has spatially dispersed and tional and state news, they have news

segmented both public and private life, re- announcements specific to that community.
ducing the concentration and diversity in any [Note: Colonial newspapers, often read aloud
one place at any one time. In addition, the news
in public gatherings, didn't carry local

information and communication portion of because was assumed you got that in the

public life has migrated largely into the pri- street, square, tavern, and marketplace.

vate realm, and has become more non-spatial Those newspapers focused on Colonial and
in character. European events and on trade and shipping.)
Thus, these new papers take on a more
Our information and communication lives extensive role in public life.

today are substantially augmented by an

extraordinary array of information available Print and electronic media, once operating
through many media: by swift and interactive only in the one-way broadcast mode, have
electronic communications: and by easier become fairly interactive. Examples: "Man-
access to near or distant places. All these are in-the-street" interview sections and letters-
currently the subjects of explorations to to-the-editor columns in newspapers and
make them more interactive and to use them magazines are real forms of public expression
in new ways, in commercial, political, and ... as are radio call-in shows and TV interview
social action. And many are not place-based and talk shows. All these extend the num-
forms of public life. bers of people a single individual may reach.

There is the explosive growth of conferences

At the same time, we still have place-based and meetings that both discuss critical is-
public life in our small towns, some neighbor- sues and are public (and some can accommo-
hoods, and in many suburbs, but we may not date a large public group because of modem
see it, for it is not in the Euro-Urbanist like having the Pope at
long-span structures,
tradition of a high-density public life lived Madison Square Garden). The networks that
are developed around these issues often have simpler images than the places are them-
public purpose and substantial longevity, selves. And these don't necessarily corre-
like EDRA. spond to the simplistic physical images of the
two physical forms of cities . . . the European
Neighborhood associations; service sorori- "solid city" of the past, seen as a mass with its

ties (Junior League and working women); public squares carved out, and the more
historic preservation movement, concrete modem new-world "tower city" which favors
links with past; public commissions, like the buildings over spaces. Only the staunchest
Tower Commission on the Iran-Contra issue, advocate of architectural determinism would
actually working in public via TV. suggest that a public life can be had in one

and not the other. Or the Euro-Urbanists

Event-based public and national life, local, . might.
. July 4th /Liberty extravaganza and multi-

media blitz, analysis and interpretation be- There is still much more to learn about the
fore, during, and after; Live-Aid/ Farm- Aid three enduring archetypal places for public
concerts . . . call-in, be there, parties, interna- life; the street, the square, and the park.
tionalization of spirit, entertainment as poli- Galen Cranz has done a wonderful social
tics. history of the park. We need a parallel
understanding of the square, perhaps using
Theater groups, publicly funded, performing as a model Korosec-Serfaty"s study of the
in the park, in the street, in the prisons, in the Main Square at Malmo. Stan Anderson, Tony
hospitals, and being more interactive and Vidler, Bob Gutman, and others have done
interpretive. excellent work on the street, and we need that
work extended and built upon. Many of our
We have not entirely lost expression in public older public places are now becoming candi-
life as theater; Mardi Gras; strolling the chaos dates for reuse and worry that our knowl-

of Venice Beach; people acting out the Rocky edge to remake or make new ones is both
Horror Picture Show every Saturday night for insufficient and stale.
ten years; and the elaborate expressive cul-
tures centered on the skateboard, the car, We need to understand more about vernacu-
and the motorcycle. lar public places and public landscapes, as J.
B. Jackson does, and as Bob Riley has started
While neither public nor private life is guar- to do in his survey of vernacular landscapes.
anteed by the Constitution, a public life of
substance should be available to everyone, to We don't have institutions whose job it is to
their taste, and it should not deny their sensitively and properly look after or work for
development of style, nor demand one either. public life. Popular discussions of public life

A capacity for a public most tastes

life for are needed, as is setting overt goals for all

seems already in the structure of most towns public environments, not just our streets,
and cities. People try to select cities to live in squares, and parks. These should be public
for their quality of which they try to
life, in and
issues ... as should the socioeconomic
achieve their particular good mix of public mechanisms for bringing them into

and private life. being and using them, for these delivery
mechanisms powerfully affect what we get
Amos Rapoport gives this city-selection proc- and how we use it.
ess useful images in his two "settings for life,"
. . . one where the SETTLEMENT acts as the A few suggestions from a much longer list of
total setting for life, with the dwelling as part EDRA-type forays would be to:

of a whole (as in Latino/Mediterranean

towns), and one where the DWELLING is the Do more systematic critiques of the full range
total settingfor life, with the settlement acting of public places in terms of how they serve
largely as connective tissue and waste space public life. This requires a better under-
(as in Los Angeles). These are, of course. standing of the segmentation of public life.

and an expansion of concepts of Common the festival market, the parking lot's Sunday
Ground to include those which are temporary life as a flea market, public buildings, public
or emphemeral. gardens, public landscapes, and public thea-
ter. It seems possible to re-present our public
Work with zoning and legal folks to conceive life to us in ways that continue the transfor-
of mechanisms which could capture the true mation, prevent decline, and offer new illu-

economic value of the street and return it to sions for our use.
the street . . . somehow making streets their
own tax increment district, giving the street The Second Scout's Report
back some of the public power it once had. There is, in parallel, another scout's report
about the territory. ... a report that is not
Offer EDRA pre-design programming and easy intellectual territory to read or to map.
jurying services to every municipality consid- Perhaps naively expected I to find reasonably
ering design competitions which include clear categories, and clear distinctions
public environments. There are many of among them. But my expectations about
these. distinctions between categories (such as
public realm, versus private realm or busi-
Investigate concepts of the esthetics of public ness versus government) are not met they
environments, to confront the current norm seem not so distinct from each other. Some of
of inoffensiveness. We need to explore ideas the loss of distinction is due to intrusions of
of what public biography might be. as a basis one category into another, and some seems a
for design of public place (as opposed to what kind of blurring of the lens. ... 1 think there
we morally get, which is the designer's auto- is a great deal of nostalgia for situations long
biography: and explore how elite tastes in gone,and this nostalgia sustains illusions
esthetics might be social oppression, and which prevent us from seeing how much of
how those who feel oppressed fight back with the public life there really is.

what is called ugliness, as in wall-size graffiti,

behaviors Jivan Tabibian once called "the These are not merely intellectual problems,
politics of ugliness." A better relationship for loss of distinctions and sustaining of
with visionaries and artists could help EDRA illusions has real-world consequences. We
in this foray. see actions taken by public bodies which
impoverish public life, actions which back-

Examine your city's inventory and system of fire,where the opposite of what we wanted
public places, in an ecological analysis, to happens because we're not seeing things
suggest portions that need rethinking. Many clearly, or don't understand them. These
cities have underused public environments, consequences continue to let us know just
and no system of them. how counter-intuitive the complex system of
public environment can be . . . and how
It is clear that EDRA has something to offer careful we must be of simple solutions in
the social-psychologists of public life, who, complex systems.
strangely, dwell very little on public environ-
ments. A real dialogue would be nice. Let me offer some examples of what mean by I

loss of categorical distinctions, and nostalgia

The idea of public environment must be re- and illusions.

conceived to include and thus legitimize the

full range of places related to public life, as it Loss of Categorical Distinctions between
really is and as it could be, . . . extending our Public and Private Realms
concepts beyond the street, the square, and The two fundamental forms of social rela-
the park. These must include the strip, the tions are those of public life and private life.
suburb, the water's edge, the boardwalk, They are distinct, traditionally, in that pri-
communal gardens, the electronic and print vate life is personal, controlled by the dweller,
networks, portable public place, the indoor sequestered, a sheltered region of life, one
and outdoor mall, the skyway, the highway. with family and friends. Public life always
combined three characteristics: for a com- Public Health has developed ideas about
mon good or benefit, a common-wealth; open human and sun-
density, sanitation, light
to general observation by strangers; and light, airmovement, and air quality. These
involving a diversity of people and thus toler- have become part of public policy, operation-
ance of diverse interests and behaviors. With alized in codes, and thus reflected in every

public concerns intruding massively into built environment, public and private.

private life, and private interests profoundly

altering public life and environment, these The concept that hazards to private individu-

distinctions are blurring. als have public consequences has brought

public attention and support to the lives of
Intrusions of the Public into the Private vulnerable publics . . . the disabled, children,
Realm and the elderly . . . attempting to insure that
Michel Foucault writes about a "detailed their rights, especially of access and use, are
technology of Intrusions" into the private not denied through place-design which ex-
realm by the public realm. This includes cludes. This concept of hazard reduction, as
formal and legal intrusions as well as those of well, has been used in lije-sajety and prop-
custom, which gathers and organizes all erty-safety ordinances, strongly guiding the
kinds of information about you, and then design of private place.
controls private acts and decisions: what you
eat and drink, and the stimulants you use; Use of homes for purposes other than dwell-
the noises you may make; how you may keep ing, such as day care, is often constrained by

your lawn: what sex is: how children are to be public standards for offering of services in a
educated: how many people may live in your home. Also, there are new issues surround-
house: what pets you may have; what your ing "home-based work," where the criterion
house is built of and how; its plan, shape, and for appropriateness of the home for work

esthetics; how you take care of it; methods for keep changing. The government earlier for-
its protection; and how it may be inherited. bade work at home to prevent exploitation of
women and children, and is now under pres-
Foucault doesn't, but 1 use the word "intru- sure to reverse that stance to permit work at
sions" in a neutral sense . . . some are home. We don't know yet how much "gaze"

beneficial, some not, and sometimes it de- the public will choose to maintain over the
pends on other factors. In addition, there are homes where home-based work is done.
other public intrusions into private life, some
welcomed and some not, but which were once Loss of Life in the Street
centered in public life. . , . Information pours Public health and zoning and code officials

intoyour home through the mails, under and reformers, in the desire to prevent harm
your door, through the TV, radio, and tele- to the public, particularly the poor, developed
phone . . . and strangers intrude at your door concepts which intruded first into the loca-

or phone, proselytizing, selling, or seeking tion, and then into the design of all struc-

aid. tures, including the private realm of the

dwelling. Some of these intrusions have
These public intrusions tend to erase the unwittingly reduced possibilities for public
distinctions between private and public. life. Zoning by use segmented the city by
There are other public-into-private intru- function and building type, reduced diver-
sions: sity, and disaggregated community life.
Other zoning ordinances welcomed the
Human settlement is seen as a public enter- tower-in-the-green-park concept, which lit-
prise, so every holder of private place must erally abolished the streets, and street life.

build it and run it so as not to interfere with

the public good. All building and zoning codes The street, a traditional locus of public life for

do this. These codes are often based on the less-well-to-do, and for the cosmopolitan,
public-health concepts which analyzed the has been attacked ever since its horrors in
spatial component of disease and wellness. English industrial towns were exposed by
Engels and others. Changes were made, increase in allowable building floor area if a
generally for the better. But the concept of public indoor or outdoor space is provided.
the street as an urban pathology still lingers, Thus, public environments are created as a
and much new, publicly sponsored action by-product of normal development. Many of
further empties the street of public life ... It these spaces are used as antechambers,
is public action impoverishing public life in passages, or forecourts to private develop-
one area in an attempt to bring it to another. ments, enhancing private value. Their size,

Two examples are the indoor mall and the purpose, location, and design are outcomes
downtown skyway system. Both were con- of other decisions, ones not necessarily made
ceived of as ways to revitalize downtowns for the public good. They are creatures of
without using the street. economics rather than civic good. They are
an automatic by- product of any development
The indoor mall on city streets is a destina- which chooses to take advantage of the in-
tion, not a naturally occurring passage. If centive schemes, and in New York City, after
successful, it impoverishes street life by the 1961 zoning law provided these incen-
engulfing the streets normal commercial and tives, every development which could take
service life in a building's interior, thus pri- advantage of them, did.

vatizing public life and robbing the street of it.

Erosion of civil liberties: Environments made
The skyway system is a set of bridges con- privately for use by the public are now
necting private buildings one level above the permitted to restrain public use or access. It

street. It creates, in at least ten major Ameri- is new phenomenon. There has been over
can cities,downtown's competitive response a decade's erosion of civil liberties when
to the suburban mall, "assembling" an urban space, used as public space, is owned
mall by adding second-level circulation con- privately. Early on, in 1946 and again in
necting several buildings. Most of these 1968, the Supreme Court extended free

passageways connect private places to each speech to private property if the owners of the
other . . . although the passages are, to place were assuming public roles and
varying degree, public places. They create a functions. The court then reasoned that the
second-level city, a "bourgeois new indoor shopping malls were the func-
boutiquesville," abandoning the first-level tional equivalent of the old dovwitowTi busi-

streets to the automobile and the non-shop- ness district, and should be treated as public
ping, probably poor pedestrian. It further spaces.
removes the citizen from the city.

The Supreme Court's balance then tilted

Intrusions of the Private Realm into the toward conservatism, and in 1975 these laws
Public One were reversed, forbidding free speech in such
Public environments serving private wealth: places. That law has stood when tested,
Methods have been developed linking the although a few liberal states have used state
public and private sectors which have as constitutions to protect free speech on pri-
their goal the provision of more public envi- vate property used as public space, in shop-
ronments vifith less expenditure of public ping malls, corporate office parks, and pri-

money. Results have, almost always, vate university campuses.

reversed the classical relationship of public
environments being primary, and they have Erosion of civil liberties also comes in a more
made many newer public environments insidious form, delivered through the
subservient to, and appendages to, private powerful visual language of design.

For example, private developers in large cities

Many spaces intended as public environ- have been offered incentives to provide public
ments are now brought into being through rooms, often indoor gardens. The publicly
incentive formulas embedded in zoning laws. approved zoning ordinances permit build-
These laws permit the builder a substantial ings to go beyond the volume allowable on the
on the theory that these enclosed public
site, well . . . primarily actions in relationship to
rooms are "payment" for the light and space wrongs or that which requires combined
denied the neighborhood by the building's actions. Economic calculus guarantees that
increased bulk. injustice will be done, for it does not value all

people equally, and further, cannot place a

Some of these are truly public spaces, and very high value on enhancement of public
some are privately owned, built for public use life. And
the government does not even use
with bonuses and tax incentives. In both, the this economic calculus evenhandedly,
"spirit" of publicness is an issue. Many of invoking it in some situations and not others,
these spaces have designs whose cues tend to acting capriciously, as if a private body.
deny access to the homeless, those not well Thus, many distinctions between business
dressed, or those behaving differently from and government are questioned.
others. These strategies include: The simple
fact of having doors, as well as obviously
lockable ones; the use of ornate private- Loss of Categorical Distinctions between
sector materials: the "social filter" of the Public Services and Private Ones
presence of armed private guards at the I assumed a clear distinction about what
entrances: or expensive shops rimming the public services are, as contrasted with
public space; elegant furniture. Sometimes private ones. History shows that to be a false
the public space is located in ways that limit distinction. The only "naturally public"
knowledge that there even is one. New York service has been to service the need for

City, responding to designs which clearly gathering. From the "dancing ground" to its

limit access, now legally requires signs successors, the public squares and plazas,
placed at entrances and elsewhere, stating it we've always provided public open space.
is a "public space." But the signs are often (Ancient Spanish law already required one of
bronze plaques, or incised into the marble every 1 5 leagues of land to be set aside for
walls, becoming part of the forbidding public use.)
elegance, not easily noticed, further reducing
civil liberties. The notion of what services should be
provided to the public, and by whom, has
Loss of Categorical Distinctions between from its origin varied widely. Some services
Government and Business we now take for granted as being publicly
There is a blurring of the distinctions be- provided are only recently so. Police, fire,

tween government and business. While pri- education, sanitation, and transportation all

vate enterprise has been made a collaborator started as private enterprises, and were given
with public bodies in the provision of public over to public bodies to run when they
environments, it still has as its objectives the became dis-economic. (New York City's IRT
enhancement of private wealth rather than and BMT subway lines were the names of the
provision of common-wealth. Goals become private companies that were taken over by
blurred in these situations. And because the the Transit Authority: universities started as
provision of quality public environment is not placeless groups of students who hired
a very high priority for government, business master scholars to teach them.) And now it

interests are often more served in these appears that where these services might
places than is public interest. again be turned to profit, we're seeing them
again become privatized (garbage pick-up,
And, increasingly, government uses the same fire).

"economic calculus" to make decisions as

does business . . . cost justification, benefit- Nostalgia and Illusion
cost analysis, retum-on-investment, all the The nostalgia (and sadness) for public life
paraphernalia of an organization with eco- seems often to include nostalgia for some-
nomic goals. That, quite simply, denies what thing very different . . . neighborhood or
government is for which as Lincoln said,
. . . community social life . . . different than public
is to do what the people cannot do at all, or as life. 1 think that mistaking public life for
neighborhood life can create problems, for live together, even when there is choice, fur-
public life, which today is much about spec- thering segmentation. An excellent example
tating and observation, is with strangers, is the tightly knit Italian community in
while neighborhood life is much about verbal Boston's North End which has used public
interaction. Design for them would be differ- policy as an expression of their choice not to

ent: thus, mistaking one for the other has assimilate. Five successive "down-zonings"
consequences. have finally brought the permissible building
envelope to be equal to the current actiucd
We have images of a public life that are envelope, reducing development pressure by
idealized . . . that perhaps were never really reducing the value of the land. And no new
true, and with the several-hundred-year outsiders.
transformation, have become illusions for
which we have great nostalgia. This is mirrored by the suburban no-growth
movement, the youth-excluding
The nostalgia for these idealized and older communities for the elderly, the Yuppie
forms of public life prevents us from seeing condos, and the "private, gated
the trans-forms or new forms of public life in communities" advertised in rapidly
new or old locations, and not seeing them developing areas, which all exclude by age or
reduces our capacity to support them. class, and often, by race. All are exclusionary
actions played out within a framework of
Private enterprises, often with the support of public life, further reducing access of people
public funds, now cater brilliantly to this to each other, taking away Common Ground.
nostalgia, and market illusions of public life,
such as in festival markets, which may be 1 leave you with a vision embodying these
fun, but which may be hollow experiences for problems of loss of distinction, nostalgia,
those who don't like two-dollar chocolate chip illusion, and how they backfire ... a vision of
cookies, and who, looking around, must an upper-middle-class suburban family,
wonder, "Is this all it was?" This gives public coming back from a tour of Europe, filled with
life a bad name. good feeling about the incredible variety and
diversity of people in the public places they

And the nostalgia for the Euro-Urbanist visited (of course, the Piazza di San Marco),
public life and plaza has many
of the square wondering aloud "Why couldn't we
to friends,

of us convinced that more of these are what have that here?" And a week later they go
. . .

we should build. And the result is zoning out to vote for the new zoning ordinance
incentives and planning concepts which, which increases the minimum lot size in their
among other things, littered Manhattan's 6th community, putting a home out of reach of
Avenue with a startling array of underused several recently arrived, but not poor, Viet-
plazas, piazzas, piazzettas, and piazzettinas. namese families, and an Italian Dante spe-
cialist and her husband, who recently moved

Segmentation and Loss of Diversity here from their house in Venice, a block from
What much of this categorical blurriness and the Piazza di San Marco, where they had
nostalgia leads to is increased stratification, coffee every morning, talking amiably with
segmentation, and loss of diversity. As a the tourists, in fact, once with the family
people we are still quite diverse, but are more we've just described.
and more organized in spatial patterns which
involve distances where we are socially seg-
mented, reducing diversity and limiting so-
cial learning. Minority groups, which origi-

nally had assimilation as their goal, who

wanted to be "American," have received much
recent public support for their new quest for

positive identity based on ethnicity or race.

They now often choose to exclude others, to


Richard R. Knorr

The Building as Village

James W. Shields As the programs for buildings have steadily construction of American urban environ-
University of Wisconsin increased in both size and complexity ments.
throughout the twentieth century, a singular
design strategy has emerged in order to solve EXAMPLE #1: Town of the Lakes Inn
consistently the problems of human scale In 1985,Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-
encountered in such large projects: the Zyberk received a commission to design a
constituent elements of a program are bro- 3,250-bedroom hotel on a large parcel of
ken down into individual "buildings" and unbuilt forest and wetlands near Disney
reassembled to form a "village" of human World in Orlando, Florida.' Such a commis-
scale spaces and objects. sion, similar in program tohundreds of ho-
tels throughout Florida, conjures up images
Prominent figures of the architecture world of Lapidus or Portman, of a vast corridor or
as diverse as Leon Krier and Frank Gehry can atrium building dressed in the manner of the
suddenly be found exhibiting nearly identical day. Even Michael Graves has tried his hand
planning theories on this issue, while ap- at such a problem, as his "Dolphin" and
pearing to be polar opposites on virtually all "Swan" hotels reveal. But Duany and Plater-
others. Zyberk questioned the standard vision of
such a project in a fundamental way: they
The intention of this paper is to describe the asked why such an enormous program
"Building as Village" concept by documenting should be manifest as a single structure at
three prototypical examples: all. Instead of developing the brief as a single
building set in a field of parking, they took the
1. The Town of the Lakes Inn by Andres component parts of the program (guest
Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk rooms, restaurants, shops, service, etc.),

2. A School at St. Quentin-En-Yvelines by developed a series of prototypical small build-

Leon Krier ings, and composed them into the form of a
3. The Loyola Law School by Frank Gehry town. Arranged around a series of small
public squares, the design takes inspiration
These three projects will demonstrate how from the 1733 plan of Savannah, Georgia, by
the concept has been approached under dif- John Oglethorpe. Utilizing the traditional
ferent circumstances and settings; my dis- forms of street, square, and city block, the

cussion will outline some of the important plan forms concise residential "neighbor-
issues, advantages, and problems that have hoods," as well as a "main street" and a "town
arisen in the design of these "villages." square." Duany and Plater-Zyberk acted as
both site planners and building architects for

The paper will conclude by offering the the projects, creating the idea of an entire city
"Building as Village" concept as a fundamen- designed by one architect which is at first
tal component in place making and the re- disturbing. One is further reminded of Ogle-

Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Town of the Lakes Inn. Odando Florida, 1985, site plan, plan view.

thorpe's Savannah, however, in that it too 'This way," Duany says, "there's no possibil-
was designed all at once, a large number of ity of error because the streets and buildings
identical houses having been prefabricated are derived from existing types that we have
in nearby Charleston and carried by barge to seen work."^ An example would be a street of*
the site under the direction of a single pro- "Charleston" or "Piazza" houses, derived from
prietor. One could only hope that The Town existing eighteenth-century streets in his-
of the Lakes Inn, having similar origins, toric Charleston, South Carolina. A critical

would undergo the same rich processes of aspect of such a street in both Charleston
growth and change (while maintaining its and Seaside is its and
extreme tightness
plan) that Savannah has enjoyed. As at compactness of size, when compared with
Savannah, one might expect that the many almost any contemporary development stan-
buildings may eventually fall into the hands dards. This is hardly surprising when one
of individual owners, allowing for further considers the preindustrial source of the
change and individuality. prototype. Critics have questioned Duany
and Plater-Zyberk's use of "inappropriate" or
The Correct Size of Things "outmoded" models. But the critics, espe-
Taking information about the size of things cially those writing in non-architectural jour-
from existing cities seems critical to the work nals, have widely praised Seaside for its inti-

of Duany and Plater-Zyberk, suggesting that macy, familiarity, and livability, characteris-
it is not enough to allow the developer's tics largely derived from the architects' study
program to determine the sizes of buildings and use of historic types.
and spaces. During their research for the
planning of Seaside, for example, they com- Parking Along the Street
piled a collection of building and street proto- The accommodation of surface parking is
types by studying eighteenth- and nine- perhaps the most difficult problem in all of
teenth-century towns of the American south- contemporary planning. The free-standing
east. These prototypes, precise in both di- building surrounded by acres of tarmac is a
mension and form, were then used as the vision of the American landscape all too
component parts in the design of Seaside. familiar to us. The concept of the building as
village, however, offers an alternative. As the EXAMPLE #2: School at St. Quentin-En-
scheme of Lakes Inn shows, it is possible to Yvelines
accommodate the majority of the parking In 1978. the European theorist Leon Krier
requirements along the streets and squares undertook the design of a large school to be
of the town. This simple solution, familiar to located in the Paris suburbs near what is now
people in residential neighborhoods across known as Ricardo Bofill's Arcade du Lac.^
America, has somehow been overlooked in The program for this school was a large and
recent times. Since the parking is dispersed complex one, with functions including audi-
across the site, the visual prominence park- toria, cafeteria, classrooms, library, and a

ing usually has is greatly diminished. This host of supporting spaces. Rather than auto-
represents an interesting visual phenome- matically following the written program,
non, in that a street lined with parked cars which was suggestive of a single structure,
does not seem like a parking lot. The enclo- Krier criticized the program itself and deter-

sure of buildings, parallel parking, street mined that the program should be broken
trees, sidewalks, walls, and fences all com- down into a series of unique small buildings
bine to diminish the visual effect of the park- assembled into a The arrangement

ing. People never refer to such a place as a compressed

of the village is a tight one. with a

"parking lot," even if it is entirely lined with sequence of streets, alleys, and passageways.
cars. In addition to providing one car per This compression is a strong and deliberate

sleeping room, the scheme allows people to intention of Krier's and represents his desire
park close to the entrance to their building, a to recreate the dense urban fabrics of prein-

necessity of modem life that many planners dustrial European cities, a desire which is at

ignore. The concept of parking along the the root of all of his work. The relative
street can work in other settings as well: importance of various buildings is described
Duany an equivalent town
calculates that by their size, shape, and construction, with
layout could accommodate as many as four "public" buildings (library, etc.) being large,

cars for the average 1,600-square-foot monumental stone structures, while "pri-

house. vate" functions (classrooms) receive treat-

Leon Krier. School at St. Quentin-En-Yvelines. France. 1978. oblique

ment as simple vernacular volumes of example. It can be seen that his attitude
stucco. The most important buildings are toward simple and ancient structures is

also located along two central avenues, which closely related to the idea of multiple small
combine in a village square, forming a focus buildings.
to the composition. Vehicular traffic is

banned from the village, streets, and squares EXAMPLE #3: The Loyola Law School
referring to pedestrian ways. While the previous two examples can per-
haps be described as "historical revivals," the
Human Scale and the Small Building work of Frank Gehry is generally referred to
Krier points out that it is the tendency of as "deconstructivlst." Gehry has risen in
modem architects to reduce any program, no recent years to be seen as one of America's
matter how large, to a single building. These preeminent modern designers. While
modem facilities, he suggests, composed Gehry's avant-garde treatment of form and
with the typical endless corridors required to materials may shock and disgust a classical
make them work, have become synonymous on the more abstract levels
purist like Krier,
with banality and bureaucracy, actually and the handling of complex
of site planning
turning the very word "institutional" into a programs, the two architects can be seen to
derogatory term. Krier states: "Large build- be in close agreement. In Gehry's design for
ings are not only difficult to design, they are the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, a
difficult to build, to maintain, and to control complex program (which would almost cer-
as well as to integrate with the existing social tainly be handled as a single stmcture by
and physical fabric." most architects) is broken apart into four
separate buildings and recombined in order
To Krier, the strategy of utilizing several small to form a sequence of small-scale objects,
buildings as opposed to a single large one has passageways, and piazzas; in other words, a
many advantages. First, a large complex of village. In front of a long and slender office
small buildings can be built over a long period and classroom building, Gehry has place^
of time without appearing incomplete at any three small "public monuments," each repre-
stage. Second, Krier feels small buildings senting an important public-assembly com-
have greater adaptability to change of func- ponent of the program. While fragmentary
tion than large ones. Third, Krier reasons and distorted, each building is an unmistak-
simply that small structures are more hu- able reference to a classical prototype: cam-
mane and supportive of human activities panile, church with apse, temple with por-
than vast institutions. Last, he states that tico, etc.'' In describing his design direction,
small buildings can be technologically sim- Gehry says, "I tried to build as 1 always do,
pler than Icirge ones. creating a metaphor for the city with towers
and turrets, odd passages and strange colli-

Simple Traditional Construction sions. It grows out of the stuff where I make
For Krier. preindustrial craft technologies villages."^

represent the ultimate achievement in archi-

tectural construction. He has consistently Modernist Functional Eixpression
proposed that industrialization in the build- While Gehry's use of vestigial classical proto-
ing trades has been the great downfall of types can at first seem eclectic or historical in
architecture. He has, therefore, returned nature, another strong connection appears
almost exclusively to pre- 1800s technologies possible, that of the early modem move-
in his work, supposing that durability, ele- ment's tendency toward the clear formal
gance, and dignity come hand in hand with expression of functional elements. A clear

this decision. Many of his buildings are and probably related example is Le Corbus-
proposed in load-bearing masonry with tim- ier's Maison de Refuge of 1930-31. In the

ber roof-framing. A technology of this sort is Refuge of Paris, a similar strategy of sepEira-
ideal for small buildings as opposed to large tion is employed, as the vestibule, porter's

ones; clearly this technology would be inap- lodge, and public halls are pulled out as
propriate for a typical modem office tower, for discrete objects and juxtaposed against a
Frank Gehnj. The Loyola Law School. Los Angeles.

long slender facade of the hostel. Although which students can sit, meet, debate, eat,
the objects are in this case never fully de- entertain, or hold a rally or demonstration. In
tached as they are in Gehry's Lxjyola, the American cities, architects often find them-
similarity of visual effect and intention dem- selves confronted with sites physically iso-
onstrates that Gehry's work can be seen in lated from any nearby buildings, making the
part as a reinvestigation of early modem enclosure of such public spaces extremely
principles. This comparison also reveals, of difficult. The opportunity exists, however, to
course, that Le Corbusier was also experi- make such places within the confines of a
menting with the notion of pulling apart a single project, by program into
splitting a
large program into separate buildings and different buildings and arranging them in
reassembling them in order to form complex order to define urbane and useful spaces.
visual juxtapositions resembling those of a
dense city or village. Growth Over Time
In terms of contemporary construction this is

On Place-Making quite radical for a single project, and yet it

In Le Corbusier's Refuge the different build- closely resembles the form of the traditional
ings remained physically attached, while in college campus, with many separate struc-
Gehry's Loyola their separation is total. The tures, built over a long period of time. In fact
significance of the latter is that in Loyola the Loyola was a phased project, the long office/

spaces in between buildings have become classroom slab having been completed before
designed, useful, beautiful, human-scaled the start of the other structures. This points
places. This is, perhaps, the great singular to an interesting advantage of the "village"
advantage of the "building as village" idea. At strategy, that of providing for growth over
Loyola, space is not treated as the mere time, as new structures need not compromise
residual effect of objects, but instead as a preexisting ones in any way. This strategy
carefully controlled sequence of designed can greatly simplify such issues as fire exit-

events. Gehry's work doesn't have the left- ing, differential settlement, and materials
over nature of most recent American urban matching, and can eliminate the high per-
space. He creates courtyards, stoas, pas- centage of square footage required to link
sageways, a "towTi square," all places in such structures with corridors.
The "Problem" of Going Outside Conclusion
The disadvantage with much of this design The vast size and complexity of many modem
treatment is, of course, that users have to go building types has more often than not led to
outside in order to move from building to a banal and "institutional" architecture.
building. This is a serious problem in the Architects have repeatedly heard from their
eyes of many building owners, following a clients: "Please, whatever you do, don't make
time when many cities have built skywalks in it The institutional effect of

order to provide interior links between dispa- large structurescan be avoided by breaking
rate parts of the city. But while the negative down the constituent elements of a program
aspects of skywalks on the ground-level life of into small individual buildingsand reassem-
cities have become clear, many planners bling them to form a human-scale
village of

have become disillusioned with the idea of spaces, a design concept which has been
the continuously connected structure and shown to transcend mere style. By focusing
have returned to the pleasures and strategies on the creation of defined outdoor spaces
of the traditional city. In Gehry's Loyola, for such as streets, squares, or courtyards, the
example, the benign climate of southern "building as village" concept can become a
California has certainly made the idea of fundamental component in place-making
complete separations easily accepted, and as and the reconstruction of American urban
mentioned earlier, college campuses tradi- environments.
tionally tend toward this form of organiza-
tion. It is likely, therefore, that despite a de- Notes
signer's interest in this idea, certain clients in 1 Abrams, Janet 'The Form of the American
other, less hospitable climates will be difficult City" Lotus International 1986/2 p. 7.

to "sell" on such an idea. Yet Gehry, in

designing a house in the harsh climate of 2 Giovanni, Joseph "Blueprint for the
Minnesota recently, has handled each and Future" Esquire December 1986, p. HI.
every room as a distinct building, although
the rooms remain connected by means of 3 Porphyrios, Demetri "Leon Krier: Houses.
heated, enclosed space. Even in harsh cli- Palaces, Cities" Architectural Design Profile
mates, several arguments can be made for 54 7/8 1984, p. 113.

the "building as village" concept. Construc-

tion codes are usually related to the square 4 Fraker, Harrison "Spatial and Material
footage of enclosed space in a single struc- Conventions: Frank Gehry's Artistic

ture, requiring more expensive construction, References" Midgarde: Journal of Architec-

fire-fighting equipment, and existing accom- turalTheory andCriticismvol. l,p. 105.
modations as buildings get larger. Small
separate buildings, on the other hand, often 5 Dean, Andrea "Deconstructivist
can be built using the least expensive con- Construction" Architecture June 1988, p. 66.

struction methods, requiring few "fancy"

systems. In the Midwest, good wood-frame
buildings can be built in the range of $50 to
$65 a square foot, while cast-in-place con-
crete structures in the $75 to $90
can be
range. The "building as village" concept also
tends to eliminate or reduce the space usu-
ally devoted to corridors, a portion of con-
struction area which can run as high as 33%
in some institutional building types. This
reduction in size can offset increased exterior
wall surface implicit in the concept.
On Symbolism of Memories
and Ruins

Wojciech O. ombra del morir. per cui siferma and sick, abnormal human figures, eaten
Lesnikowski ogni miseri. a I'alma al cor nemica -
away by time, all creating a depiction of fallen
University of Illinois ultimo delli ajflitti et buon rimedio. Roman grandeur.
at Chicago

Michelangelo, Sonnet LXXII Although such eighteenth-century medita-

tions were among the first outbursts of
On Romantic Gardens modem Romanticism, Piranesi's was not the
In 1740, twenty-year-old Giovanni Battista first instance of romantic worship of the past.
Piranesi arrived in Rome as the designer for The cult of memories and ruins can be traced
the Venetian ambassador. Rome and its to ancient times. As an example, one could

glorious history became his passion, and look at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli as a sort of
after 1743, except for short trips to Pompeii cultural memory bank a museum of the

and Herculaneum, he never left the city. In Emperor's recollections of his life and travels.
Rome, Piranesi decided to devote himself to The villa complex was conceived as a type of
the art of engraving. By 1743, he had already monastery, an ultimate escape into the "bet-
published the Prime Parte d'Architettura e ter past." Its conglomeration of diverse archi-
Prospettive. in which, for the first time, his tectural, spatial, and physical configurations
creative imagination was seen as he indulged and styles reflected a creative eclecticism

in fantastic visual reconstructions of Roman used to communicate a sense of nostalgia.

monuments. From then on, he tried to cap- There, the aging Emperor lived for a few
ture the antique spirit of Roman history, ap- years, stricken by terminal illness, trailing
proaching it with a visionary mind and eye. across the vast rooms of his home, with his
He devoted ten years to the creation of his ruined body and the "ruins" of his memories.
monumental Antichitd Romane. published in By the Renaissance, this once splendid villa-
four volumes in 1756. This work, together city was nothing more than a convenient
with Vedute di Roma and Delia Magniftcenze quarry for builders, such as those of Tivoli
ed Architettura dei Romani. presents a ro- gardens and the villa of Cardinal Ippollto
mantic glorification, in fantastic visions, of d'Este. It also became an attraction for

ancient ruins and the distant past. Piranesi souvenir shoppers: popes, cardinals, and
created a visionary world filled with noctur- common people as well as the aristocracy.
nal light, dramatic shadows, breathtaking Piranesiwent there to contemplate the ruins,
contrasts, sunken columns, triumphal take measurements, and draw. The precious
arches, suffocating spaces, gloomy caves, marble, the figures and stone, all gradually
underground cities, broken aqueducts and disappeared until only the naked remains of
cisterns, prisons, immense wheels and gal- the villa's structure were left.

lows, stairs leading nowhere, building ruins

cast in gloomy light, immense stonework, The particularly intense period of Italian
overgrown vegetation, decapitated statues. culture, the High Renaissance, was espe-
E:gon Eireman: Kaiser Wilhelm Church. Berlin.
Ruins of Hadrians' Villa. Italy.

cially prone to such romantic imaginings and feeling of terror are constant companions of
visions. For example, the origins of Orsini's the visitor to these gardens, especially at
gardens at Bomarzo are surrounded in mys- sunset
tery. No archives or tangible documentation
exist. The gardens began with a medieval

fortress which dominated a rock-strewn val- Most contemplative pleasure gardens from
ley. The fortress was turned into a luxurious the Renaissance contained a multitude of
residence and the valley into a fantastic gar- architectural ruins, structures, statues,
den. From the perspective of traditional urns, amphorae, grottoes, fountains, and
Italian Renaissance garden design, which pools. These elements, when brought to-

featured strictly geometrical patterns, vistas, gether in a deliberately exaggerated and bi-
and circulation systems, the Bomarzo gar- zarre manner in fantastic, dream-like land-

dens are unique as they do not follow any scapes, left lasting and powerful impressions
previously known typology. The creator of on the visitor's mind. Such conceptions,
this environment, Vincino Orsini, Duke of which the Bomarzo gardens and Palazzo del

Bomarzo, must have known the works of the Te represent, can be traced to the heart of

late Mannerists, particularly Giulio Ro- Renaissance attitudes, where classical learn-
mano's frescoes at the Palazzo del Te in ing and scholarship, and knowledge of cul-
Mantua. It appears that he consciously were united with dynamic crea-
tural origins,
followed the paths of the fallen giants and The practice of walking among historic

gigantic columns from such frescoes, as he architectural ruins, whether real or newly
turned the bottom of his valley into a world created imitations, in a heightened atmos-
landscaped with monsters and gigantic fig- phere, was aimed at understanding past
ures part human and part animal which cultures. These ruins were considered an
were carved from the existing rocks. A sinis- important part of the humanist landscape for
ter appearance, a sense of mystery, and a which Renaissance minds had great longing.
The love of ruins has another, more modem
source: the changing artistic taste of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, par-
ticularly in England. Although philosopher
Edmund Burke detested Jean Jacques
Rousseau, he was no less romantically in-

clined. For Burke the true moral order of the


world remained unchanged, and any attempt

to alter it would result in ruins. He thought
this of the French Revolution, towhich he
was a distant witness, and he tended to see

the old regimes of Europe with romantic

eyes as the true guardians of an abiding
morality. Despite his sociopolitical conserva-
tism, Burke contributed to the emergence of
the novel, aesthetically anti-Classical, anti-
Latin, artistic movement of Romanticism. In Philibert de I'Orme: Ruins oJAnet Chateau, France.

his work of 1756. Philosophical Inquiry into

the Origin oJOur Ideals on the Sublime and the
Beautiful he attacked the broadly prevailing ating an art which reconciled man and na-
by pointing out that it was not
classical taste ture.

clarity, and formality which

make things beautiful and sublime, but on This concept was exercised primarily in gar-
the contrary, obscurity, without a logical den designs, which became the major con-
system and without any bounds. He said that cern for people like Burke in their attempt to
"it is our ignorance of things that causes all define a new attitude toward the relationship
our admiration and excites our passions." between man's creative ego and that of na-
This sentiment was reinforced by Romantic ture. Unlike Latin gardens, which were origi-

poets, particularly William Wordsworth and nally based upon a rationalized notion of
Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The latter wrote: "It food-producing plots of land, the English
is the nature of thought to be indefinite, while gardens reflected the Jewish concept of Eden
deflniteness belongs to reality. The sense of or paradise a contemplative, natural gar-
sublimity arises, not from the sight of an den with beautiful plants and trees. Its
outwcird object, but from the reflection upon sublime charm depended primarily on the
it." For these poets, it was the intuitive dominance of the natural over the artificial,

imagination of the individual which was the the scorn of man's intellectual creations, and
starting point of their quest. Nature would rejection of traditional Hellenistic insistence
awaken the mind from its "lethargy" by a on regularity, all of which remained at the

sensory signal a desultory breeze, a jas- very heart of French and Italian designed
mine scent, or more likely, a roaring torrent landscapes. The romantic desire of the Eng-
or seething chasm. By reflecting upon na- lish during the second half of the eighteenth
ture, the mind became "a mansion for all century brought forth several famous gar-
lovely forms," thereby assimilating its truth dens of which Stourhead by Henry Hoare,
and spirit of cosmic unity. Many times it was Stowe by William Kent, and the gardens of
the child or country peasant, uncultivated by Blenheim Palace by Capability Brown are the
society, who was closer to the profound most famous examples. Although the charm
truths of nature, according to these poets. At of these gardens depended on the clear
times, poems were set in an ancient context, dominance of unspoiled nature, or nature

used to transport man from the realm of arranged to appear unspoiled, there were
routine, everyday life. The poet then inte- some specific architectural forms, other than
grated and reflected in his work the visionary the main house, placed within them to evoke
experience from the natural landscape, cre- memories of distant events, lands, cultures,
and landmarks once visited or conquered. spent some time in England, was the harsh-
For instance, at the garden of Stourhead sits est critic of English romantic gardens. In his

the Temple of the Sun at Baalbeck. the letters to the gardener to Louis XVI, Buffon,
Temple of Flora, the Temple of Neptune or the he criticized English garden landscapes for
River God. the Pantheon, the Hermitage, and being too naked, vacuous, tiresome, and
the Nymph of the Groat. Stowe contained the aesthetically elusive. He attacked the British
Temple of Ancient Virtue, the Rotunda, the fondness for ancient ruins amidst their gar-
Temple after Palladio, and a Palladian bridge. dens as an expressive act of childish taste.

Such a romantic archeological architectural Stowe especially offended him. Yet in theory,
collection well communicated the theme of he liked the idea of romantic picturesque-
memories and historical ruins designed to ness. Prior to these critics, the famous theo-
stimulate the imagination. retician Blondel expressed dislike of the
English taste for the rustic and for the Eng-
Indeed, during Burke's lifetime, England was lish zigzag patterns and scattered composi-
undergoing a deep, cultural soul-searching tions of ruins, kiosks, tombs, and pavilions.
caused by profound changes in its society. He believed that symmetry and rationality in
While the French Revolution symbolized a composition exemplified man's creative gen-
new age for mankind, stimulating much ius, and that irregularity was representative

thought on man's relationship to his society, of nothing more than mental confusion.
England's war with France created other
feelings of nationalism and a fear of a similar Consequently, the migration of British pic-
revolution. The Industrial Revolution added turesque, romantic tendencies to France
a growing complexity to English life. It was took some time. By 1785, the French finally
only natural that the English, as a nation of started to recognize the attributes of English
travelers who explored the globe with pas- gardens. Curiously enough, the English
sion, were nostalgic for the simplicity and Picturesque which was introduced to France
beauty of ancient settings that contrasted was not without precedent in French art. The
with their own increasingly complex society. great landscape paintings of Watteau,
They sought organic unity and synthesis be- Poussin, Boucher, or Fragonard already ex-
tween man and his environment; in such a isted. After all, it was the seventeenth-cen-
union, they hoped to create the foundations tury French painter of romantic landscapes
for their own original cultural expression. Claude Lorrain who indirectly influenced the
creation of the gardens of Stowe. Neverthe-
The French at first rebuffed this bias. Even less, with English influence, new French
Jean Jacques Rousseau, who philosophi- gardens gradually acquired a romantic loose-
cally hailed England and in his Julie, ou la ness. Yet, due to the natural French ten-
Nouvelle Heloise criticized formal, rational dency toward powerful physical rationaliza-
gardens, was not prepared to endorse the tion, the new French romantic gardens were

English naturalistic posture. He suggested far more geometrically ordered than their

that only authentic countryside and true English counterparts. Unlike those in Eng-
wilderness were valid counter-concepts to land, where one feels an emphasis of the

classical formal garden planning. Although natural over the artificial, French romantic
he liked the liberal philosophy of England gardens of the eighteenth century were filled

which deeply influenced its garden designs, to capacity with artificial symbolic events.
he disliked the physical appearance of these The famous romantic gardens of the Count of
designs and would not recommend their use Ermenoville consisted of such sentimental
in France. Similarly, Montesquieu and objects as a monument of old loves, a hermit-
Voltaire, who England during 1729-
visited age, a philosopher's pyramid, arcadian fields,

30 and 1726-29 respectively, praised Eng- a farm, Rousseau's cottage, a temple of

land for its liberal taste, referring again to modem philosophy, a brasserie, an Italian
English philosophy rather than to English mill, the tower of Gabriel, and an island of
artistic achievements. Abbe le Blanc, who poplars, to mention only the main features.
Compared to Stowe. itwas a veritable chain Often, we do not like the Ecole des Beaux
of physical events. The density of these Arts' meticulous restorations of ancient
objects in French romantic gardens reflects Greek and Roman architecture. They look
the French insistence on dominance over too "real." The preference to indulge in the

nature. Another French garden, the Park of splendor and insanity of Piranesian visions
Monceau in Paris, included a similar collec- corresponds to the preference to envision

tion of eclectic "events" from the past: Nau- events in our minds as perhaps superior to
machia, Gothic ruins, a watermill, a Turkish what they really used to be.

tent,an island of rocks, a minaret, a farm

house, a winter garden, ruins of the Temple The modem humanist interest in history,
of Mars, and tombs. At the gardens of Betz ruins, and restorations was accelerated by
exists a house in the form of a ruined column increasingly popular voyages to distant
and a half-destroyed medieval castle; in the countries. The name of Howard Carter, who
park of Monperthuis, a partially ruined Egyp- discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922
tian pyramid and a wooden Greek Temple: in the Royal Valley of Egypt, is well known.
and at the garden of Versailles, English cot- Equally well known are famous archeologists
tages, a watermill, and vegetable gardens. of the nineteenth century, such as Champol-
lion, Rawlinson, Petrie, Burton, and Schlie-
The concept of "ruins in the park" did not stop mann, the latter the discoverer of the ruins of
with the eighteenth-century romantic escape Troy and Mycenae. They stand at the fore-

from the realities of life and aristocratic flirta- front of archeological achievements and of
tions with gentle philosophical concepts of expeditions to Egypt and Greece, to Far
aesthetics. In the middle of the nineteenth Eastern countries such as Burma. Cambo-
century, it was further developed and dia, India, Ceylon, Persia,and to countries of
adapted to the concept of large city parks, Africa and South and Central America. The
such as the great Parisian parks of the Bois people of the nineteenth century were ob-
de Boulogne or the Butte de Chaumont, and sessed with discoveries of ancient ruins, los^
the parks of Mountsouris and Monceau. This civilization, and lost continents. Places like
tendency went beyond England and France, Thebes, Kamak, Troy, and Machu Picchu
and flourished with unusual vigor in roman- raised the romantic fever which Howard
tically inclined cultures such as Germany, Carter described when referring to the Royal
Poland, and Russia. Valley in Egypt: "the very name is full of
romance." Uncovering virgin ruins was a
On Archeology. Literature, Painting, and personal challenge, with subsequent access
Love of Ruins to hidden mysteries. "Can you see any-
The love affair with ruins and past recollec- thing?" asked Lord Carnarvon while Carter
tions repeats itself across the cultural history was taking his first look into Tutankhamen's
of mankind. Its emergence corresponds with tomb. Carter replied "Yes, wonderful things."
times when positive, productive activities end While broad and relatively easy travel existed
in disappointment. The subsequent disen- for the first time in history, the distant past
chantment with both present and future excited nineteenth-century minds as these
creates a remembrance of the past, which men often preferred to submerge themselves
appears to be more genial, more glorious, and in the past rather than cope with unpleasant
more profound. In addition, there is the realities of their industrial societies.

psychological aspect of visualizing the part

rather than the whole. Ruins very often The Industrial Revolutionand the collapse of
appear more exciting to us than the original old morals and customs stimulated the reli-
structure because they allow us to freely gious and nationalistic fervor of individuals
indulge in creative imaginings and specula- who searched the past for exemplary heroic
tions. The disappointment one feels when virtues and elevating examples of pure mo-
seeing theoretical restorations of famous ralities and great individual creativity. Archi-

ruins to their original state is very common. tects, aroused by works of the great romantic
Cemetenj of Montmcirtre, Paris.

writers and poets such as Walter Scott, Victor in stones, columns and walls overgrowTi by
Hugo, Byron, and Schiller, suddenly looked vegetation the romantics searched for in-
with keen interest into the thus-far silent spiration, both philosophically and aestheti-
world of medieval culture with the hope of cally, which would provide their lives with
discovering lessons in creativity absent in deeper meaning.
their own century. The ruins of old monaster-
ies and the still-surviving defensive walls and Artists and architects of the nineteenth cen-
fragments of Gothic cities, as well as ruins of tury, inspired by ancient and medieval ruins,
medieval castles of England, France, Spain, attempted to express in their work the spirit

and Germany, drew excited attention. Caer- of idealism or mystery which they thought
narvon Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Windsor characterized such cultures and of which so
Castle, Chateau de Pierrefond, Carcassone, little was present in their own time. And so

the castles of Spain, the Wartburg and Carl Gustav Carus painted the ruins of the
Malbork castles, the Krak of the Knights, incomplete medieval chapel near the German
Chateau de Beaufort, the abbeys of Cluny, town of the Bacharach. He titled his work
Fontenay. Melrose, and innumerable other Bacharach on the Rhine, and showed the
medieval sites, whether intact or ruined, ruins of the chapel bathed by the mysterious
attracted pilgrimages and finally the concern light of sunset which was so loved by the
of historic preservationists and practicing romantics and so appropriate for picturesque
architects. In those fantastic old ruins of paintings. Caspar David Friedrich painted
fortresses, tovwis, and monasteries often his Cross in the Mountains with a shadowy
located on precipitous mountains, of ruined Gothic cathedral in the background, por-
cathedrals with wind whistling through bro- trayed in the mysterious light without which
ken stained-glass windows, in open graves. melancholy would not really exist. Many
such ruin sites were painted by others, such
as French architect Nicolas de Chapuy of the
well-known ruins of Salnt-Martin-du-Can-

The great Prussian architect Karl Friedrich

Schinkel early on chose the Gothic style as
his preferred romantic imagery. In two of his
famous paintings he lovingly captured a
spirit very much admired in his times. In the

Gothic Cathedral of 1 8 1 3 he showed the form German World War I Memorial: Passo PordoUtaly.
of a cathedral placed against the setting of the
"spiritual light" of sunset. The harsh con- On Gardens of Death
tours of the cathedral dissipate as it appears Of man's created environments, gardens
to take on supernatural qualities of lightness, represent the most suitable and ideal place

transparency, and elusiveness. In his other for aesthetic and intellectual reflections and

painting of a Gothic cathedral, the building is meditations. Their primary function, after

seen over the trees, barely appearing as a all, is to provide aesthetic and sensual pleas-
solid material structure. The nostalgia and ure to their users. In architecture, however,
melcincholy of the scene are accentuated by which must address functional and struc-
the view of a cemetery located in the front of tural criteria, it becomes considerably more

the building, wath its tombs as companions of difficult to render historic ruins and memo-

romantic lovers of history. Viollet-le-Duc ries. To erect half-ruined temples in the

painted a few similar scenes. The best known garden or stylistically imitative pavilions and
is a rendition of a human figure standing in kiosks is one thing; another is to produce
the midst of fljang buttresses of a Gothic cracked and ruined yet functionally sound
cathedral. He also painted dramatic moun- structures. Yet, history is full of such at-

tain and battle scenes of the medieval era and tempts. For instance, there are Giulio Ro-

of the War of 1870 between France and mano's "cracked" walls of the Palazzo del Te
Prussia. as a playful application of ruins, or Ledoux's
combinations of classical forms with

By surrounding themselves with historic "cracked" rustic landscapes such as the

memories and images of ruins, the people of Hotel Thelusson in Paris or the entrance gate

the nineteenth century found some escape to his Salt Works at Chaux.
from the problem-ridden, industrial but still

aristocratic century. In these remote scenes, Today's Postmodernism, in its challenge to

Modernist didactic purity, strives to return to
they found the solace and resolution that was
absent in their unsolvable, contradictory the playfulness of pluralistic contradictions,

modem world. William Wordsworth, in Book and to a complex, psychologically formal

Six of The Prelude, identifies these fantastic language, all of which would never cease to

and sublime images as symbols of cosmic produce individual surprises, discoveries,

unity: "in this gloomy strait The immeas- and interpretations. This is achieved in one
urable height / Of woods decaying, never to way by utilizing historically inspired forms

be decayed / The stationary blasts of water- and concepts, thus memories and

falls / . . . winds thwarting winds, bewildered fanciful interpretations. Memories and ro-
and forlorn / . . . black drizzling crags ... the mantic associations, psychologically impor-
sick sight / . . .Tumult and peace, the dark- tant for Postmodernists, find their way to

ness and the light / Were all like workings present-day design techniques as a series of

of one mind, the features / Of the same face, conceptual assumptions: fragments are

blossoms upon one tree; / Characters of the more stimulating than wholes, accidents are
great Apocalypse, / The types and symbols of more amusing than clarity, contradictions
Eternity." are more psychologically fulfilling than over-
The Verdun battle memorial. France.

all harmonious unity, collages are more col- of its failures, the entire territory of memories
orful than a single stylistic orientation, his- and ruins could be considered as no longer
torical references and adaptations are more valid in this not very sentimental, technologi-
enriching than modem, detached purity, cal epoch of ours. There remains, however,
irregularities are more conceptually chal- one area of architecture within which memo-
lenging than regularities, informality is more ries and ruins have always played an ex-
human and desirable than monumentality, tremely important and genuine conceptual
stylistic mannerism is more creative than role: cemeteries, war memorials, or historical
comprehensive rationality, the historical monuments.
ruin is more interesting than a well-pre-
served structure. Thus, a broken pediment is As distinct from "life gardens" discussed
looked upon with admiration while a solid above, these cemeteries, memorials, and
one is viewed as unfortunately banal; a monuments constitute gardens of death. The
skewed spatial sequence is more fun and tradition of building commemorative monu-
eventful than a straight one; ornate surfaces ments to famous state, military, or artistic

are artistically richer than stripped ones; and personalities goes back to antiquity. We
picturesque compositions are viewed as aes- remember Trajan's column or the Con-
thetically more pleasing than refined, or- stantine Triumphal Arch in Rome. Through-
dered arrangements. Obscurity turns out to out the Roman Empire, as well as ancient
be creative, while comprehension is dull. Greece or Egypt, thousands of similar com-
Burke won over Descartes. Romano's man- memorative structures were erected. The cult
nerism becomes more worthy than the of death was as strong as the cult of life

straightforward, rational power of Brunelles- achievements. During the Renaissance, this

chi and Bramante. Vaudemeyer is more tradition reached its peak under Louis XFV of
complex than Labrouste. or Ruskin"s roman- France. In the nineteenth century, particu-
ticism more appealing than Choisy's con-
is larly prone to the cult of heroes, this tradition
As a result of such taste.
structivist theories. produced vast numbers of commemorative
Postmodernism has often been criticized as structures, from Napoleon I triumphal
responsible for the avalanche of kitsch in arches in Paris to the funeral monument of
recent architecture. Consequently, because Louis XVI and his slain Swiss guards, as well
as monuments to Garibaldi, Gnaisenau, Gorizia and Monfalcone, rises another in-

Wellington, and hundreds of distinguished credible memorial to the Italian World War I

military, political, artistic, and scientific fig- dead. Here, 100,000 "Unvanquished" who
ures. The tremendous interest during the remem-
died in various battles in Gorizia are
nineteenth century in archeology, histori- bered. They lie in a series of platforms
cism, and creative genius could be seen in the stepped up the hill which overlooks the bat-
cities of Europe which decorated themselves tlefields. In this perhaps finest of all Italian

with the statues of great heroes and achievers war necropolises, the magnitude of war was
of the past. realized in keeping with the typically Italian
emotional phantasmagoria which historical
It was not until the twentieth century, when Italian cemeteries reveal.

wars caused such tremendous physical de-

struction, that architects and artists found Near Rome, off the Via Appia Antica, there is

the task of capturing the modem spirit of a monument to the 335 Italians murdered by
disasters and tragedies exceptionally chal- the Germans in reprisal for their killing 32
lenging and symbolically powerful. The German soldiers. The basic idea of this de-
consequences of war always had a powerful sign was to leave the scene of the murders
hold on people's imaginations. Huge military intact, a similar concept of the French 'Tran-
cemeteries of World War I, such as the one of che des Bayonettes." The cave where the
Verdun, exemplify the long succession of murders occurred is left untouched but over-
modem ruin-inspired memorials or modem grown with invading vegetation in true Pira-
"gardens of death." The famous 'Tranche des nesian manner, while tombs of the victims
Bayonettes" at Verdun, a concrete structure were placed in another cave covered with the
built over the rows of French soldiers who enormous slab of the roof Darkness and
were buried by tons of debris, their
alive occasional dramatic light, invading vegeta-
outstretched bayonets reaching above the tion, and rough materials are instrumental in
surface of the ground, showed with dramatic capturing the tragic memories.
power the spirit of horror and destruction
captured in the most expressionistic way. Further to the south is a great Polish war
memorial placed on the top of Montecassino,
The Italian World War monument at Mont
I facing the old monastery of St. Benedict. Its
Grappa was erected at 1 ,775 meters altitude burial terraces, simplicity, and dramatic sit-

and contains 25,000 bodies of Italian and ing are comparable to the Italian monuments
Austro-Hungarian soldiers who died during of Mont Grappa and Gorizia.

the epic struggle between both armies. It is

another emotional gesture to the enormity of Spain has its fascist memorial in the Valley of
human sacrifice. Besides the powerful series the Dead west of Madrid, built on the orders
of steps within which soldiers are buried, this of General Franco. It is the memorial basil-
monument also contains strategic defensive ica, where an enormous cave is carved out of
caves with rusting guns, trenches, crumbling the mountain and consecrated to the fallen
supply roads, and other military memora- soldiers of the Spanish Civil War.
bilia. Not very far from there, at the famous
Alpine Pass del Pordoi, a German military In Hitler's
Germany and no other culture
monument was erected in the shape of the seemed to love historical memories and ruins
tmncated cone, placed on top of a circular,
more the romantic cult of memorial build-
stony terrace where the tombs of soldiers are ings was very carefully maintained. Hitler's
located. The romantic idea of soldiers' tombs architectonic preoccupations with these
opened to the sky, rain, and snow is realized themes was no less passionate. For instance,
here and repeated later in Hitler's Putch's coffins of Hitler's fallen comrades were placed

Memorials in Munich. inside of twin roofless temples on the Royal

Plaza in Munichexposed to sunshine, rain,

In Italy, on the rocky countryside between and snow as to remain among the living in the
best romantic tradition. The great com- built to commemorate tragic military
memorative Tannenberg battle memorial in struggles. In the Soviet Union, the Stalingrad
East Prussia, called the funeral castle of the memorial, with its gigantic hand carrying the
Marshal Hindenburg, was erected at the torch of the eternal flame, reflects similar re-
same time. Later, architect Wilhelm Kreiss membrances of the war effort. And then came
was asked to design a series of German army the memorials of the holocaust at Auschwitz
memorials to be erected in different con- or Majdanek as well, in hundreds of simflar
quered countries of the world to help remem- places of human annihilation. The
ber German accomplishments. In addition, Auschwitz memorial incorporates the re-

as described by Albert Speer, Hitler's chief mains of the railroad tracks which once
architect, the theory of architectural ruins served to transport millions of victims to the
was created by Hitler with the goal of assur- furnaces and leaves intact row upon row of
ing that ruins of main monumental struc- half-destroyed prisoners' barracks to gener-
tures of the Third Reich would survive for a and
ate a feeling of desolation, loneliness,
thousand years. Speer even produced imagi- ultimate horror.The Majdanek concentra-
native drawings of the future images of these tion camp memorial contains a mountain of
ruins. Today, not even after a thousand human ashes placed under a low, concrete
years, but barely four decades after the final dome.
collapse of the Third Reich, we can visit some
of the unintended Hitlerian ruins such as the At those places of man's ultimate evil, the
Colossus Stadium in Nuremberg. concept of past remembrances and historical
ruins achieve the most dramatic level of
The memorials to the horrors of World War II meaning. The gardens of Eden and sublime
ensued. All across Europe, military monu- poetic memories were replaced by gardens of
ments and cemeteries followed this direction death and oblivion, and the sublime ruins of
of incorporating surviving remains of the the glorious historical past were replaced by
wars into architectural compositions. Parts tragic ruins of the horror of man's modem
of tanks, fallen airplanes, guns, helmets, and existence. Orsini, the creator of Bomarzo,
shells of all sorts became commonly used was outdone. It is, however, at Scarpa's
objects along with the ruins of surviving Brioni cemetery at St. Vito where Piranesi's
structures. The Pearl Harbor Memorial floats world of ruins and destructive vegetation.
over the hull of the sunken battleship Ari- English moody picturesqueness, and the
zona. The Japanese preserved portions of the Italian sense of form and sculpture come
destroyed city of Hiroshima as the ultimate together in an organic, gentle union. Here,
memorial to the first nuclear holocaust. The the imagination of the poet creates a garden
Germans in Berlin, under architect Egon of memories and ruins filled with sad yet
Eierman, incorporated a surviving tower of wonderful reflections on the temporal nature
the bombed- out Kaiser Wilhelm Church into of worldly existence. The gardens of life and
a new, modem church structure. In Berlin, gardens of death are brought together in a
Schinkel's guardhouse was rebuilt and gesture of reconciliation.
readapted as a memorial to the anti-Nazi
fighters. Summary
The architecture of ruins and historical
In Eastern Europe, in regard to the apocalyp- memories, begun with Piranesi's ancient
tic consequences of the last war, vast num- visions, has not diminished in importance
bers of commemorative structures from the over time. The twentieth century has pro-
military to the civil conflicts were erected. In duced clear evidence of the cultural need for

Warsaw, the tomb of the unknown soldier this type of creativity, particularly when the
was placed within the remaining half-ruined consequences of events affecting our society
arcade of the destroyed royal palace. The so deeply should not be forgotten. Piranesi's
Warsaw insurrection memorial. Ghetto dramatic longing for the old glories of Italian

memorial, or Westerplatte memorial were culture in the face of a weak and divided
nation. Britian's desire to establish its own
originalform of architecture and landscape,
the nineteenth-century love of the remote
and historically fantastic, and the twentieth-
century need to remember history are all

founded upon the creative, poetic desire to go

beyond rational frameworks of our existence.
Poetics, romanticism, and irrationality are

key terms in understanding such realms.

Ruins, tombs, monuments, dreams, fantas-
tic poetic associations, and irrational fanta-
sies may not produce anything immediately
useful or constructive. But, that final cul-
tural usefulness in architecture cannot be
calculated only in terms of functional, eco-
nomic, and structural efficiency. The true
architectural contribution to historical cul-
ture is also related to the realms of fancy,
even if its origins may be eclectic and it may
look to the past for inspiration. Furthermore,
it is obvious that such a contribution should
not be judged on the grounds of systematic,
intellectual, and rational qualities, but in-
stead, on the grounds of intuition and in-
stinct, faculties which cannot be defined with
conceptual rigor and precision. It is romantic
in inspiration, an expression of the longing
for a mystical rapport with the universe and
its history, an expression of a desire to ac-

quire a deep and natural knowledge of the

universe by surrounding oneself with the
sensations and passions of the irrational
kind. Intuition, which is not based on an
ability to justiiy itself, is capable of an instinc-
tive, immediate apprehension of certain
aspects of the truth prior to intellectual defi-
nition. Intuition gives us that arbitrary
"taste," that instinctive like or dislike of
something. The romantic longing for histori-

cal worldsand remembrances of past times is

based upon such intuition, without which
our world would be only half as rich.
Monuments in the
Realm of Memory

Farouk Self and Introduction 1966, p. 33). From this concept of memory
Folke Nyberg The purpose of this paper is to trace the one is easily persuaded that memory is the
University of Washington spectrum of monuments in the realm of most significant human characteristic, and it
memory. It discusses in some detail the certainly signifies and influences the idea of
philosophical foundations and psychological monuments.
aspects of monuments and their role in the
human psyche. It is necessary to inquire as Needless to say, physical objects of represen-
to the nature of what constitutes not only the tation as monuments trigger memory
basis for a cultural psyche, but the ability to through the sense of perception. Repeatedly,
convey this understanding through a physi- however, memories can be triggered without
cal representation. This physical representa- any perceptionof physical objects such as
tion of past events, experiences, and natural monuments; as Thomas Moore would say:
phenomena as monuments fundamentally
plays a significant role in furthering and Ivong, long be my heart with such memories
edifying cultural memory and common fiird!

ethos. Like the vase in which roses have once been


The Concept of Memory and the Percep- You may break, you may shatter the vase if

tion of Monuments you will.

Through investigating the nature of monu- But the scent of the roses will hang round it

ments, one must shed some light on the still.

concept of memory and its essential function

in human life. Thus, an understanding of the (Farewell! but Whenever . . .)

role of memory in recalling or remembering

events and places emerges.
Although the fragrance of Moore's roses
While memory is what we remember, remem- (memories) remains for a long time, our the-
bering is fundamentally how we remember. sis is bounded by monuments as memory
Remembering basically is one way of knowing objects or as memories' containers (Moore's
things in the past, present, and future vase). While memories seem to emerge and
(Smith, 1966). Monuments evoke memories, pass through the mind of their own accord
and memories are triggered by the act of (Smith, 1966), the relationship between
remembering and recalling. But, memory is memories and perception of matter is gener-
more than an act or process of remembering ally uncertain. monu-
But, in the case of
or recalling to mind experiences or facts. ments, the relationship between memory and
Memory is a collection of mental pictures and perception is very pronounced. Through
images of the past; it "belongs to the same perception of the present, monuments evoke
part of the soul as the imagination . .
fVates, memory of the past. Monuments as memory
objects, therefore, influence our perceptions, torical artifacts, landmarks, large-scale ob-
and our perceptions in turn cause a recalling jects, and what we call living tradition ob-
of past events and experiences. Perception jects. Living tradition objects evoke what
then is an immediate path to here and now or may be called constant-habitual memories,
a linkage to our memory of the past. Both a sometimes reinforced by ritual. But, at any
sense of perception and memory are needed rate, these living tradition objects are not true
for our knowledge of both the present and the monuments because they simply are not
past. Here, for instance, it is worth noting the products of memory. Living tradition objects,
downfall of postmodernism. While so much therefore, can be called social monuments.
is given to perception, very little is allowed for
memory. Under the excessive use of sug- Monuments, whether named or built con-
gested metaphor in postmodern architec- sciously or unconsciously, have persistently
ture, memory has been overshadowed if not been maintained and qualified as products of
replaced by a shallow perception. memory throughout human history. Since
prehistoric time, structures like Stonehenge
However, monuments cannot evoke memory have been considered as a megalithic sacred
of the past without the sense of perception. monument evoking memory of heavenly and
While the sense of perception provides us astronomical events. Egyptian temples,
with knowledge of the present, the memory tombs, and obelisks, monuments which were
evoked by monuments provides us with purposefully erected to last eternally, also
knowledge of the past. Kevin Lynch (1960) evoke memory of mythical and religious
identifies landmarks along with paths, edges, events as well as a cult of natural phenom-
districts, and nodes as elements of the city ena. 'The idea is not without foundation
image and orientation.
for visual recognition when we realize that the avowed purpose of
These elements of the city image, through the pyramids (for example) was not only to

perception, help the observer to remember preserve the mummy of the pharaoh for the
and to recognize the physical environment return of the soul in the infinite hereafter, but
around him or her. It is obvious in these also to be the center of the cult of the royal
elements that memory is closely akin to per- dead, and, by consequence, the dominant
ception. However, these physical forms, element of the vast monumental complex"
unlike monuments, are not a product of (Fletcher, 1961. p. 23). We must recognize,
memory. Then, landmarks through remem- however, that Fletcher's notion of "monu-
bering and common usage mark places so as mental complex" includes the quality of being
to direct and orient individuals, while monu- monuments not only through persuasion,
ments are physical objects, or matter, or acts but based on deeply held belief and pathos.
purposefully intended to evoke conscious
and emotional response. The pluralistic Also, as elaborate Greek monuments were
society appears to be using landmarks for built to commemorate athletic and musical
orientational purposes through a familiariza- festivals, Roman triumphal arches and col-

tion based on perception. Monuments, on the umns of victory were erected to record
other hand, so represent virtues that direct triumphs of victorious events. Although,
individuals to a common ethos. In fact, the undoubtedly, these historical artifacts were
act of creating monuments affirms the impor- products of memory in the past civilizations,

tance of embodying and renewing memory. they are still monuments. They evoke histori-
cal memory, a memory associated with the
Monuments as a Matter of Memory past through usage of persuasion. Although
A considerable degree of confusion among these historical monuments have an histori-
laypeople, and most architects and design- cal presence, they have, through time, lost

ers, exists in the interpretation and justifica- original ritualistic function.

tion of what constitutes monuments. Per-

haps, generally speaking, monuments can be Ironically, over time, monuments have been
classified as memory objects along with his- trivialized, misused, and abused. Even so-
called mark-locational survey points, places in memory, a building is to be remem-

whether they are natural or artificial struc- bered. The more spacious and varied the
tures, are interpreted as monuments. Al- better; this applies to the forecourt, the living

though "bench marks" as relatively perma- room, bedroom, and parlors, not omitting
nent objects are helpful in marking and statues and other ornaments with which the
remembering loci, they are undoubtedly not rooms are decorated.
products of memory. Also, landmarks and
large scale objects which are primarily points It is undoubtedly this relationship between
of reference for orientation in spatial location rhetoric and memory as a system of formal
(Lynch. 1960) have been mistakenly justified manipulation to convey a special effect that is
and frequently glorified as monuments. the theoretical underpinning of Alberti's writ-
ings on architecture and the uses of the
Furthermore, monuments, unlike land- monument (1955). Not only do we recognize
marks, do not simply involve singularity or Cicero's emphasis on civic virtues in Alberti's
uniqueness in their visual context and physi- treatise on architecture, but also the rhetori-
cal characteristics. Singularity and unique- cal notion that "the house is a small city and
ness perhaps can be desirable qualities in that the city is a large house." The role of the
monuments, but they are not essential at- monument to persuade the citizen of civic

tributes. Landmarks, more often, may be virtues falls then to the art of persuasion
transformed into monuments, not because of exercised by the architect. With the city as a
their visual characteristics, but rather be- memory theater much like the role of the

cause of what Kevin Lynch calls "historical house as described by Quintilian. the monu-
associations, or other meaning" as powerful ment serves an edifying role. It becomes es-
reinforcements. "Once a history, a sign, or a sential in the structuring of the remem-
meaning attaches to an object, its value as a brance of a past which is no longer inter-

landmark rises" (Lynch. 1966. p. 81). Never- twined with custom and tradition in the
theless, if the reinforcement is culturally medieval sense, but becomes an autonomous
significant and historically memorialized, discipline. The professionalization of build-
then physical objects may evolve from being ing activity and the deliberate planning of the
landmarks to becoming monuments. But. city as a place of monuments marks the shift
the deliberate act of designing monuments is in meaning of the concept of monument from
distinct from the designation of landmarks, having a memorial value to having an edifying
based on common usage and orientation. and rhetorical purpose.
Therefore, monuments are products or mat-
ter of memory, furthering a public discourse In a discussion of Alberti's use of the monu-
through virtue. ment. Frangoise Choay (1984) observes that
thereis a new approach to the concept of
Monuments: Persuasion and Virtue monument by classifying various kinds of
Cicero noted. "Persons desiring this faculty "monuments erected for preserving the
[of memory! must select places and form memory of great events." This produces a
mental images of the things they wish to hierarchical nomenclature which is later

remember and store those images in the used to provide a new mode of architectural

places, so that the order of the places will memorialization. As Choay notes. "The erec-
preserve the order of the things" (De Oratore). tion of edifices is the paradigm of human
In Cicero's discussion of rhetoric, he includes creativity and of that divine power of inven-

a brief description of the mnemonic function tion innate in human beings." This autono-
of places and images. As Frances Yates mous role of architecture as the history of

(1966) describes it. common mne-

the most monuments not only places the architect in

monic place system used was the architec- the central role of the creator of monuments,
tural type. She considers the clearest de- but also gives legitimacy to the notion that

scription of the process as that of Quintilian. both private and public buildings can be-
He suggests that in order to form a series of come monuments because they are a great
inducement and argument to us for believing As exemplified by Edmund Bacon's (1967)
many things related by historians. This admiration of the planning for Rome by Pope
rationaland humanistic use of history in Sixtus VI, the civic designer is presented as
having monuments serve as an educational the regeneration of cities through the supe-
role anticipates not only the polemical role rior position of an order that is based on an
that monuments will serve in the use of authority that is not necessarily legitimized
evoking history, but also in making the archi- or understood by those affected by the plan-
tect the narrator. This capability of the archi- ning. It is not surprising that urban renewal
tect not only as an interpreter of history but work in the United States proceeded on the
also as a manipulator of public discourse basis of an autonomous formalism that was
becomes problematic in relation to a public viewed to have intrinsic merit in its ability to

that is not based on common conventions but produce a physical civic order. This order, as
on an architectural autonomy that celebrates in the case ofBaron Haussmann's planning
architecture itself rather than furthering a was of dubious legitimacy in serving
for Paris,

public discourse. the public good and increases the confusion

about what constitutes monumentality.
The shift to subjective uses of the monument
eventually results in trivialization and confu- The notion of monumentality as "grandeur,"
sion of the monument's original role in mark- while indicative of the final stages of the
ing a place of common significance, to serve French monarchy, is also shared by the no-
as the topoi, or topic for the public discourse tion of the sublime as evoked by the Enlight-
in the polls. Architecture as a rhetoric with- enment as a basis for the architectural
out a legitimately developed topology lends monument. Boullee and Ledoux, while also
itself to arbitrary decisions of what consti- reflecting the Newtonian universe in their
tutes significance. This shift from the topo- intent to represent the harmony of the
logical to an individualistic determination of spheres in their Utopian projects, saw sheer
what constitutes meaning denies a society an size exaggerated by a volumetric purity as the
opportunity for a structured discourse that replacement for religious persuasion. The
furthers the polls or the public realm, as monument proposed for Newton is then a
Hannah Ahrendt would have it. combination of these intentions to seek a
harmony between scientific progress and
The civic use of monuments for religious human enlightenment. No longer embodying
purposes was adopted by Pope Sixtus VI in memory in places of public and religious
his effort to reconstitute the universal church significance, the neoclassical view of monu-
after the Reformation (Moholy-Nagy. 1968). ments became increasingly formalistic and
His decision to connect the seven most fa- subservient to those who sought legitimacy
mous pilgrimage churches by connecting by using the monumental to evoke and sus-
avenues was based on his desire to ritualize tain awe by the size and placement of objects

the piety and penitence in a Rome that was in the city. In addition, fragmented and
worldly and disenchanted by the limitations disconnected uses of history were made
placed on them by the Counter-Reformation. possible by an historicism that preferred
This adaptation of Roman and Renaissance compositional techniques in the design of the
rhetorical uses of the monument, of course, monument to the earlier typological uses of
anticipates the Baroque efforts to legitimize the monument in Renaissance theory.
the absolutist power of the king as a divine
ruler, but also furthers the arbitrary power of Itwas under these circumstances of subjec-
the architect to construct an autonomous tiveand arbitrary uses of historical refer-
experience such as Versailles. This separa- ences in the design of monuments that John
tion of the architect's power of persuasion Ruskln insisted on the monument's role in
from the ordinary life of the people is yet transmitting the narrative of past genera-
another indication of the problematical role tions: he also noted that "no building could be
that the architect eventually plays in the city. really admirable which was not admirable to
the poor" (Ruskln, 1974, p. 35). While tality. While architects should make a dis-

Ruskin's theory of the monument can be tinction between politics and architecture,
construed to be similar to the associational we cannot abnegate the essentially political
and semi-logical use of the monument by the nature of architecture in providing the set-

so-called postmodernism, there is a distinct ting for a public discourse. The monument
difference in his distrust of "the glistening necessarily connects not only the past to the
and softly spoken lie." This truthfulness in present, but also seeks to move the individual
the monument that Ruskin insisted on can from a cultural narcissism to become an

only be brought about by a search for a active participant in the polis.

common agreement about the legitimacy of
the topic of the monument. It is this rhetori- Conclusion
cal questioning that is served by Claes Old- This inquiry into the interrelationship be-
enburg's series of monuments. While ironi- tween monuments and memory may present
cal in his juxtaposition of common objects a richer and higher intellectual understand-
with unexpected contexts, Oldenburg not ing of what qualifies as a monument. We
only evokes but provokes public discourse. hope that confusion about what constitutes a
Oldenburg's works are entirely modem in true monument is By excluding
using the sublime to make the familiar landmarks, historical artifacts, and living
monumental, but they also represent a tradition objects, an understanding of monu-
search for common memories that are mass- ments becomes clearer. The rhetorical uses
produced and ever present. On the one hand of the monument in the classical sense
Oldenburg succeeds in his ironical reflection (Corbett. 1965) will provide the structure
of what monuments can mean in the age of which a topos or locus where
will establish

media, yet the memorializing of cultural cultural memories are shared through a
memories no longer seems possible to the renewal which might be best described as
architect and the artist. His uses of the ritualistic. The ritual establishes the author-

monument acknowledge the displacement of ity of the monument and also affirms the

the monument by the landmark and indicate common understanding of its origins. The
the replacement of ritualized topology by role of the architect as the narrator changes
quotidian objects representing the trivializa- to that of choreographer where the necessity

tion of everyday life. of participation acknowledges the polis. By

furthering the possibility of participation, an
Efforts to the contrary, as exemplified by the active political discourse will seek to reveal
work of Terragni, not only represent the at- the nature of the logos. Through persuasive
tempted recovery of the necessary institu- representational form, this agreement devel-
tions that can provide a cultural memory but oped in this search for a common logos will
also the role of the monument necessary for serve to orient and direct the individual to the
a recovery of culture. The rhetorical dimen- cultural memories vested in the monument.
sion of Terragni's work is evident in his Case
del Fascio where the grid plan of the towm is

tilted into the facade, providing a redefinition

of the relationship of the building as a monu-
ment to the city at large, and thus echoing
Alberti's rhetorical uses of the building as a
monument in the generation of civic virtues
(Forster, 1984). Ifitis the role of monuments
to memorialize virtues, it becomes increas-
ingly clear that architects cannot presume to
represent them in the public realm before we
recover the polis. This essentially political

activity cannot be usurped by semblances of

the monument or the misuses of monumen-

Alberti, Leon Battista De Re Aedificatoria

Trans. Giacomo Leonl 1726 Rykwert (Lxin-

don) 1955.

Bacon. Edmond Design ofCities Viking Press

(New York) 1967.

Choay, Frangoise "Alberti: The Invention of

Monumentality and Memory" Harvard Archi-
tecture Review 4 MIT Press (Cambridge,
Mass.) 1984.

Cicero, De Oratore Books I and II. Trans. E.

W. Sutton and H. Rackham. Loeb Classical
Library (Cambridge, Mass.) 1954.

Corbett. Edward P. J. Classical Rhetoric

Oxford University Press (New York) 1965.

Fletcher, Banister A History of Architecture

on the Comparative Method rev. R. A. Cor-
dingly Scribner (New York) 1967.

Forster, KurtW. "Monuments to the City"

Harvard Architectural Review 4 MIT Press
(Cambridge, Mass.) 1984.

Lynch, Kevin The Image of the City MIT Press

(Cambridge. Mass.) 1960.

Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl Matrix of Man Frederick

A. Praeger (New York) 1968

Ruskin, John The Seven Lamps of Architec-

ture Noonday Press (New York) 1974.

Smith, Brian Memory George Allen & Unwin

(London) 1966.

Yates. Frances A. The Art of Memory Univer-

sity of Chicago Press (Illinois) 1966.
Et in Arcadia Ego:
The Place of Memorials in Contemporary America

Wajme M. Chamey The unpopular war in Vietnam opened deep understated and morbidly death-oriented
Kansas State University rifts in American society in the 1960s and formal characteristics found in each. Indeed,
early 1970s. Those who held opposing the lack of traditional heroic formal devices in
viewpoints clashed, often violently, finding each memorial has led to the commonly held
little common ground on which to agree. In perception that they both represent a new.
rebuilding a more peaceful and tolerant unconventional, and perhaps regrettable
public life, American society in the 1980s, approach to commemorating American
healed but scarred, has acquiesced to the history. No other war, critics say, has been
architectural imperative for communal commemorated with such gloomy
places that reflect upon that earlier period of depressions in the earth. ^ Furthermore, the
disruption and dissent. The healing has, cloning of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
quite naturally, produced memorials which into a growing family of state and regional
revive a spirit of community or which progeny has reinforced the perception that a
concretize shared experiences. However, the new sort of formal commemorative device has
scarring has necessarily but somewhat just recently been created.^ The present-day
startlingly resulted in memorials which, in attitude of some is to bemoan this
their darkly ambiguous forms, stand in unfortunate tendency to scar the earth with
dramatic contrast to those more heroic and a black gash and then to call it a memorial.
clearly comprehended memorials of previous The first such black memorial may have been
innovative, some argue, but the trend to
create many more in its image is a dispiriting
This paper will explore the meaning and the fad.

place in America's public life of two recent

memorials: the Vietnam Memorial in The purportedly mute, blank, and despairing
Washington, D.C., designed by Maya Lin in minimalism of each of these recent
1981. and Ian Tabemer's 1986 winning memorials does represent a marked
May 4 Memorial on
competition entry for a departure from the Jeffersonian hierarchies
the main campus of Kent State University in of stoic olympian figures seated among
Ohio. In their understated forms and articulated gleaming colonnades that rest, in
nonpolitical messages, both memorials have turn on white crystalline pedestals
been lavishly praised as most appropriate surrounded by regularized bits of nature. To
expressions of commemoration in light of the presume, however, that more recent
disturbingly divisive and interrelated series chthonic memorials stem from no relevant or
of tragic events in our recent past which these extant design tradition is to ignore the
two memorials, both separately and together, historical validity and appropriateness of
attempt to objectify.' However, both long-established, alternate commemorative
memorial designs also have been harshly formal devices. Similarly, the absence of any
criticized because of those very same political or judgmental stance in any of these
Ian Tabemer. project for a May 4 Memorial (site plan). Kent State University. Kent. Ohio. 1986.

recent memorials should not be construed to Rather than aggrandize external events
Indicate a meaningless or idiosyncratic use of within the public domain, the elegy conveys
symbolic formulae. the artist's personal sentiments or emotiqjjs
on the inevitable nature of death. An elegy is,
This paper contends that both Vietnam- therefore, nearly the antithesis of the heroic
related memorials and, as a consequence, tradition which displays instead a wide
their offspring decidedly evoke what will public expression of loss and gratitude

herein be called the elegiac tradition, and tantamount to the bestowal of immortality
that this artistic tradition is the appropriate upon the individual being remembered. That
one for the memorials of this present age elegies oppose the heroic tradition is made
which has yet to come to terms fully with the clear by these lines from the most famous

divisive and still unintelligible era of elegy of all, Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in
America's military involvement in Vietnam. a Country Churchyard":

An elegy is a meditative expression, usually a Can storied urn or animated bust

lyric poem, which laments the death of a Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
public personage, but more especially a loved Can honor's voice provoke the silent dust.
one or a friend. By extension, then, an elegy Orjlatfry soothe the dull cold ear oJDeath?^
can also reflect upon the broader theme of
human mortality in general. Consider, for A particular type of elegy known as the
example, these lines from William CuUen pastoral elegy utilizes the humanistic
Bryant's 'Thanatopsis": conventions of an idealized pastoral
background, or Arcadia, along with idealized
. . . Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy shepherd inhabitants. These conventions
growth, to be resolved to earth again. And. lost can be traced back to the writings of Virgil,
each human trace, surrendering up Thine who transformed the ancient Greeks' factual
individual being, shalt thou go descriptions of a savage and rugged district of
To mix forever with the elements. Greece called Arcady into a mythical land of
To be a brother to the insensible rock . .
youthful abandon and bliss.*' Pastoral ele-
about 1 639 to after 1 655, and now held by the

The Louvre painting is Poussin's second ver-

sion of the subject, the earlier version now at
Chatsworth being dated to 1629. Both ver-
sions depict an Idealized backdrop of nature
contrasted with a dark momento of death in
the form of a foreground tomb. In each
painting, three shepherds are stopped in
their carefree wanderings by the sight of the
Ian Tabemer project for a Mai/ 4 Memorial (model) tomb; but the river god in the Chatsworth
Kent State Unwersili/ Kent Ohio 1986
version is replaced by a lovely maiden of
uncertain symbolic intent in the Louvre
gies usually contain descriptions of funeral version. Perhaps she Is the spirit of death; or
processions, give evidence of sympathetic perhaps she is the virtue of Reason, a
mourning throughout nature, and muse monumental personification of
upon the unkindness of death with a certain comprehension confronting the
degree of acceptance. Humanistic studies of unintelligible.'" In any event, one shepherd
the literary elegy in the Renaissance soon in each version traces with his finger the
found parallel visual expressions in the arts, carved inscription on the tomb
letters of the

and so the first pictorial renderings of death's as an attempt to decipher its meaning.
if in
presence in Arcadia were created in the The remaining shepherds watch their
1600s. In these paintings, a tranquil disso- companion or reflect for themselves upon the
nance emerges, a lyrical discrepancy be- glyphic cryptogram Et in Arcadia ego.
tween nature perfected, as seen the back-
ground, and human existence limited, as Poussin's second version, the Louvre
represented by a tomb in the foreground; and painting, achieves a more masterful degree of
with these paintings, we also encounter the harmony and a greater profundity of meaning
Latin phrase Et in Arcadia ego for the first than the earlier version due somewhat to the
time.'' expected tendency of any artist to find the
elemental expression of an idea in the
In his beautifully written essay on paintings reworking of an earlier attempt. Note how
with the theme Et in Arcadia ego. Erwin much simpler the second version of the tomb
Panofsky points out that the phrase has been is. Being placed parallel to the picture plane
interpreted in two ways: "I, the deceased here and without much recessional depth, it gives
entombed, also was once in Arcadia" or "I, the entire composition of the Louvre version
Death, also am present in Arcadia." Not only more strength and greater clarity, a less
do these two alternatives differ on the person cultured appearance overall." It is exactly
speaking, but they differ as well on the time this sort of synthesizing approach, which
frame, moving from past tense to present reduces a variety of elements to a single
tense.The phrase, therefore, may be read to essence, that invites comparisons between
have an elegiac, retrospective tone of Poussin's masterpiece and Maya Lin's
remembrance if one assumes that the award-winning design for a deceptively
deceased is speaking from his grave, or the simple memorial dedicated to the dead and
phrase may an anticipatory tone of
project missing veterans of the war in Vietnam. The
immediate menace if one assumes that Death comparison begins to refute those critics who
personified is speaking.^ The confusion over have called Lin's design a meaningless
the proper translation is due in large part to abstraction.
the ingenious melding of the two readings in
the classic depiction of the subject, a painting The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a pure,
by Nicolas Poussin variously dated from dark stone structure in an idealized bit of
nature: and like the sepulchres in Poussin's kneeling shepherd traces the inscription, he
pictorial antecedents, its carvings compel casts a shadow on the tomb, a ghostly pres-
one to touch its surfaces, too. The memorial ence which cannot be ignored. Art historian
is not composed of insensible rock. At the Lawrence Steefel has noted that this slightly
wall, fingers retrace letters of names carved anamorphic shadow possesses a dominant,
thereon. Visitors move past the memorial at central presence in the painting.'^ The
a funerary processional pace, attempting to shadow is the painting's essential melding
fathom the unintelligible. Inhabitants of this element. Its ephemeral character reinforces
land of bounty and bliss use the wall to and reiterates the theme of mortality in the

meditate upon matters of human mortality painting as a whole, speaks to the question of
by remembering a loved one taken from them what it is that the tomb contains, binds the
or by considering their own inevitable fate. unwitting shepherd to his own future mortal-
Rising up from the ground and submerging ity,and even provokes the informed viewer of
again, the memorial resolves earth unto the work of art into anticipatory meditations
earth. In this memorial, the contemporary upon his or her own death. The faces of
age finds its architectonic counterpart to the people which are mirrored in the wall of the
literary and artistic elegiac traditions. Bom Vietnam Veterans Memorial act in much the
of a war which cannot be exulted and which same melding sort of way and, thereby, give
nurtured "baby-killers," not heroes, in the our elegiac-based comparison of painting to
exaggerated opinion of many a political monument a wonderful symmetry.
protestor in the 1960s, the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial finds its only possible and relevant Maya Lin's design was not the first

means of materialization through the architectonic expression of the elegiac

undeniable elegiac concept underlying Maya tradition. The history of that tradition has yet
Lin's design. This elegy in stone has helped to be fully documented, but earlier examples
Americans of whatever opinions to find some readily come to mind. Louis H. Sullivan's
common ground. This scar has helped to Martin Ryerson tomb (1889) in Chicago's
heal a nation. Jan Scruggs, the man behind Graceland Cemetery is a dark mausoleum
the idea for a memorial, tells us that Lin which springs from a gracefully flared base.

wanted it to read like an epic Greek poem and It is constructed of blocks of polished blue-
so arranged for the names to be inscribed black granite not necessarily to convey a
chronologically, not alphabetically.'^ feeling of sombemess so much as to embody
and reflect the springing of life in nature all
One visitor to the wall sobbed, not when he around it.'^ And in that same cemetery. Dirk
read his son's name, but when he recognized Lohan placed a simple, polished tablet of
the names of soldiers his son had mentioned dark stone to mark the tomb of Ludwag Mies
in letters mailed home. '
^ Lin saw her design van der Rohe (1969), his grandfather. ' All '

more as visual poetry, Scruggs says, than as around these two memorials is evidence of
architecture, and she rejected suggestions the waning emotive power of that other, more
that she ought to change its color from black heroic tradition built up of white columned
to white. She knew instinctively that black
" forms. They clumsily serve as tombs for
polished walls were absolutely necessary in America's merchant princes the Kimballs
order to evoke the full emotive power of her and the Palmers and the Pullmans.
Maya Lin's commemorative wall may also
The memorial is not mere insensible stone. have antecedents in Jerusalem's Western
Its walls are not mute or black. Its reflectivity (Wailing) Wall and in Eric Mendelsohn's
is the feature which most gives it life; and yet unbuilt project for a New York memorial to

even this reflectivity, the catalyst for so much the victims of the Holocaust 95 1 -52) '^ But(1 .

of the meditation and mourning associated the memorials which had the most profound
with the memorial, has its conceptual roots influence upon Maya Lin were those designed
in Poussin's Louvre painting. As Poussin's by Sir Edwin Lutyens following World War ^ I
It is significant that Lin should have focused When Tabemer's design was unveiled, com-
her attention on that first group of memorials parisons of its formal and functional similari-
which, in their transitional forms, began to ties to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial could
cast doubt on the future viability of hardly be avoided. Both designs, each the
traditional heroic memorials. The Somme winning entry of a national competition, were
Memorial at Thiepval, France, in particular, essentially landscape solutions where pro-
held power over Lin. She dismissed the cessional stone walls were buried in the
triumphant Roman arches and wreaths of earth, thus bespeaking an elegiac an-
victory overhead and concentrated instead tiheroism. Both designs attempted to com-
on the row upon row of names carved in the memorate contemporaneous events which
simple stone bases. In front of the arch. engender strong opposing opinions to this
Lutyens had placed a finely proportioned, day. At Kent State University, those opinions
nondenominational (hence nonjudgmental) clash on the matter of who is to blame for the

Stone of Remembrance carved with the words killing of four student protestors and by-
THEIR NAME LIVETH FOREVER MORE."-" standers and the wounding of nine others as
Lutyens also pressed for a uniformity to each a result of a volley of shots fired from the rifles

gravesite and for headstones of unvarying of Ohio National Guard troops. And so both
pattern.^' When Lin similarly insisted that memorial designs responded to similar pro-
military ranks ought not to appear on her wall grammatic demands for formal solutions of
along side the names, she brought all an apolitical or nonjudgmental character.
individual personalities before the great Additionally, it was noted that the profes-
common leveling force of mortality, thereby sional AlA advisor to each competition was

further augmenting the power of her lithic the same individual. Paul Spreiregen.^^ In the
elegy.22 final analysis, however, what the two sepa-
rate winning solutions most shared was a
Let us turn our attention to the original recognition that adherence to an elegiac tra-
wanning design proposed for a May 4 dition was the most fitting response in each
Memorial at Kent State University. Largely case.
the inspiration of architect lanTabemer. the
design was to have straddled an existing Tabemer's proposal will not be realized. He

sidewalk which rises up and over the crest of was disqualified when he announced that he
a hill overlooking the Commons where war was a Canadian citizen, a violation of the very
protestors guardsmen skirmished
and first competition rule limiting participation to
around noontime on May 4, 1970. The Americans. ^^ Therefore, we cannot speak for
memorial also would have been located near Tabemer on the manner by which he would
the Taylor Hall parking lot in and around have detailed his design, but the elegy within
which thirteen students lay dead or wounded his conceptual proposal is not difficult to

just a few minutes past noon that same day. sense. In fact, the savage, primordial
Tabemer proposed cutting the walk into the qualities of the design hearken all theway
earth by as much as three or four feet. One back to the original ancient Greek
stone wall defining the processional path descriptions of that actual region in the
would be by four entries into
broken Peloponnesus called Arcady, which was
tumulus-like rooms intended for private characterized by landscapes that were
meditations and by a fifth entry into a sort of barren and rocky, not sylvan, and by
archaic rectangular amphitheater for group lifestyles that were archaic and brutal, not
assemblies. On the opposite stone wall were pastoral. Tabemer's design also addresses
to be four gashes aligned with the four the matter of touch, except that here there is

tumulus entries to signify the four slain a somewhat more brutish attitude. His
students; nine smaller carvings, design reduces the act of meditation to a
representing the nine wounded students, most primal, urge to run one's
ritualistic, yet

were to be disposed rhythmically between the hand along a worked surface. Even the
major gashes in three groups of three. sensibilities of the blind could be satisfied by
feeling the exaggerated carved grooves which Oberlin, Ohio, casualties in all wars since
signify loss through untimely death. 1861, including Vietnam.29

Itwould be unwise to assert that the May 4 Woven into the elegiac memorials under
Memorial was predestined to be an consideration here are other minor themes
architectural elegy. Nevertheless, the which include the undertone of a medieval-
reasons put forth to explain the failure of izing narrative or moralistic tradition and the
earlier proposals to capture the public's concept of the sacred grove. The former
imagination suggest that the inevitable and theme confronts a startled consciousness
half-conscious tendency at Kent State directly with death through a memento mori,
University was to drift toward an elegiac or object of death. For example, Poussin's
memorial solution. A figural sculpture by first version of Et in Arcadia ego and Giovanni
George Segal was rejected by all Francesco Guercino's earlier version of about
constituencies in 1978 because its subject, 1621-23 both contain representations of a
the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham, human skull and sometimes scavenging
was deemed to be inappropriately too mice and flies, common iconographic devices
violent. 2^ The events of May 4, 1970, would which signify decay and all-consuming time.
not permit of any memorial that seemed to These memento mori are especially promi-
retreat to past notions of glory or heroism no nent in Guercino's painting, which was, inci-

matter how much they were veiled in biblical dentally, the very first such pictorial repre-
allusions; and the subliminal expression of a sentation of the theme of death in Arcadia.^"
covenant, or agreement, within the Segal The mementos are lingering vestiges of a
sculpture did not accord well with the highly medieval moralizing convention which is best
politicized atmosphere and polar opinions exemplified in Francesco Traini's Triumph of
then current during the litigious resolution of Death fresco dated about 1350 and located in
the original conflict. As J. B. Jackson has the Campo Santo in Pisa, Italy. ^' Scenes of
reminded us, a traditional monument is a indulgent and thoughtless pursuits of
type of widely honored contract entered into pleasure in this fresco are contrasted witb a
on a specific occasion. It confers an rocky landscape in which three elegant
immortality on the dead and imposes young knights and their frolicking
obligations of loyalty on the living. ^"^
These attendants emerge on horseback from the
were not the predominant sentiments to grow edge of a forest and stumble upon the
May 4, 1970. In 1980, a
out of the events of sobering discovery of three corpses in various
May 4 memorial Roman arch of common states of decay. The roused consciousness is
brick was proposed by the university thereby warned of the transcience of life and
administration, but it was bitterly criticized its pleasures. Poussin's Louvre version of Et
by the student body for the much too obvious in Arcadia ego is, as we have seen, a more
and misdirected signals of military triumph it elemental depiction than earlier versions.
was sending out.^*" The university architect There is no clutter of memento mori in it; but
wisely likened his design not to Constan tine's despite the improvements and the classicist

arch or to Napoleon's but to Oberlin College's rejection of les objets bizarres, the Louvre
Memorial Arch, which was dedicated in 1903 painting stills conveys the distilled tone of a
to those Oberlin missionaries and their medieval moralizing message in humanistic
children who were murdered in the Shansi disguise. '^ The controversial addition of a
province of China. ^'''
Thus, the philosophical flag to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as well
and ideological justifications for a May 4 arch as a Frederick Hart sculpture of three
had a certain tenuous rationale to them, but soldiers set at the edge of a nearby grove of
the university architect might have been on trees may have diluted the impact of Maya
safer formalistic ground had he associated Lin's design, but their clutter has a certain
his brick memorial instead with Oberlin's usefulness if understood to be contemporary
Soldiers Monument. Dedicated in 1943, this inheritors of a medieval narrative tradition
simple brick wall within an earthen that seeks to awaken the consciousness to

embankment holds arched tablets listing the discovery of the nature of death. ^'
When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was where Hawthorne indulges a fancy to trans-
dedicated, thousands of people surged for- form the factual narration of actual events
ward to touch the names and to leave behind into prose elegy which ponders the realm of
memento mori: flowers, photographs, let- death. Hawthorne asks of his listeners to be
ters, medals, and other personal mementos, excused of his indulgences. If, in this paper,

even cremated remains. ^^ Their actions were reflections on recent memorials have seemed
totally unexpected and unconventional as to diverge too far into elegiac fancies, then we
they discovered the wall. It was, perhaps, the will offer the same excuse for our indul-
setting more than anything else that encour- gences: "We were betrayed into this brief
aged each individual to act out a highly extravagance by the quiver of the
personal, commemorative observance. The |light]beams; they dance hand- in-hand with
memorial is located in a public outdoor space shadows, and are reflected in the looking
which is only minimally structured. The site glass, which, you are aware, is always a kind

is one of the very few bits of the "sacred turf' of window or doorway into the spiritual world.
on the Washington Mall which is not regular- [Moreover, we needed relief] from our too long
ized to the extreme and, therefore, neither and exclusive contemplation of that figure in
Implores one to feel a sense of civic duty nor the chair.""
imposes any sort of regimented pattern of
acceptable social behavior. ^^ Framed by a Notes
small forest of trees, the memorial site be- 1 On April 30, 1970, President Richard
comes a sacred grove, each individual's per- Nixon appeared on national television to

sonal chapel in the wildemess.^'^ Perhaps the announce that American and South Viet-
preferred location for a May 4 Memorial, on namese troops would invade Cambodia in
the edge of a stand of trees, would have also order to destroy North Vietnamese military
rendered to that site a reverential nature had headquarters finding sanctuary there. The
Tabemer's design been realized. In any invasion was seen by many Americans as an
event, both minor themes speak in a most expansion of the war in Vietnam. The next
direct and appropriate manner to those is- day, antiwar demonstrations and sometimes
sues which have characterized the Vietnam violent protests erupted all across the nation.
era in America. It was a time when the print Protests at Kent State University were so
and electronic news media barraged us daily destructive that Ohio National Guard troops
with startling images of death, a time when were called in to try to restore order. On
dissent was manifested in patterns of speech, Monday, May 4, 1970, guardsmen were or-

action, music, and dress sometimes so dered to break up a scheduled noontime

extreme as to challenge socially acceptable student rally held to protest the continued
modes of behavior like never before. presence of the guardsmen on campus. The
confrontational situation escalated to the
point that guardsmen fired live ammunition
Finally, space does not permit a full discus- in the direction of the demonstrators. Four
sion here of the thematic use of reflective students were killed and nine others were
surfaces to symbolize doorways to other, wounded. The became the sym-
tragic event
shadowy worlds. The fabled precedent of bol of a deep rift American society caused
Narcissus comes first to mind, and it sug- by the war in Vietnam. See Peter Davies The
gests that mirrors have long been associated Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the

with death. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's House American Conscience Noonday Press (New
qfthe Seven Gables, for example, one passage York) 1973.
recounts the legend of a parlor looking-glass
said to contain the images of all the past 2 Betsky.Aaron "Black and White, "CR/T 12
inhabitants of the house. Upon the recent (Winter 1983) p. 4. Betsky effectively argues
death of one of their descendants, these that Maya Lin's abstract design mirrors noth-
spirits assemble in processional fashion be- ing more significant than the inability of
fore his lifeless body seated stiffly in a parlor contemporary architecture to symbolize and
chair. It is the one chapter in the entire book order our society.
3 Louisiana's Veterans Memorial in Baton Poussin intended that only the past-tense
Rouge was formally dedicated in 1987. It translation of the phrase can be read into this
commemorates that state's dead and missing Louvre version of the painting. Walter
veterans from all wars since 1776. The Friedlander (Nicolas Poussin: A New
memorial is a square space half buried into Approach Harry N. Abrams [New York] 1966,
the Mississippi River levee. Its interior walls pp. 150-51), dates the painting either from
are faced with polished black stone slabs 1639 to 1640 or from 1642-1643. Lawrence
inscribed with names. Louisiana Congress- D. Steefel, Jr., "A Neglected Shadow in
man Henson Moore, as a result of having Poussin's Et in Arcadia Ego," Art Bulletin 67
been favorably impressed with the national (March 1975) 99, favors a date as late as
Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. 1655.
D.C., asked Baton Rouge architect John J.
Desmond to "come up with a few sketches for 10 Friedlander, p. 150, identifies the female
a wall with names" to serve as a state memo- figure as a classical priestess. Steefel, pp.

rial. In Kansas City, Missouri, a regional 100-101, argues most successfully that she
Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in is the personification of Reason, or ratio, a
1986. The design was a wall of polished blue- concept closely related to the goddess
grey granite inscribed with names and half Athena; as such, this monumental virtuous
burled into a hillside. The Kansas City figure becomes a symbol of comprehension
Memorial was designed by a committee confronting the unintelligible.
comprised only of Vietnam veterans. Archi-
tect Don Stanley contends that only a very 11 Panofsky, pp. 312-13.
small portion of the design's inspiration was
derived in any conscious way from the na- 12 Scruggs, Jan C. and Swerdlow, Joel L. To
tional Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This in- Heal a Nation: The Vietnam Veterans
formation is the result of personal telephone Memoria! Harper & Row (New York) 1985, pp.
conversations the author conducted with 78, 148.
both Desmond and Stanley.
13 ibid., p. 124.
4 Bryant composed 'Thanatopsis," which
means "a view of death," while he was still in 14 ibid., p. 59. Maya Lin, then a student at
his teens. It was published in 1817 and is Yale University, was enrolled in Professor
generally considered to be the first great Andrus Burr's course on funerary architec-
American poem. ture. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was a
required design assignment. Lin's class-
5 Gray composed and polished famous his mates convinced her to eliminate a row of
elegy over nine years beginning in 1 742 after fallingdominoes that she had placed in front
the death of a close friend. Gray uses the of her memorial wall; but, fortunately, they
word "mansion," of course, as a metaphor for could not convince her to change its color
the body. from black to white.

6 Panofsky, Erwin "Et in Arcadia Ego" 15 Steefel, p. 100.

Meaning in the Visual Arts Doubleday (New

York) 1955, pp. 299-304. 16 Morrison, Hugh Louis Sullivan: Prophet
of Modem Architecture W. W. Norton (New
7 ibid., pp. 300, 304-5. York) 1962, p. 128.

8 ibid., pp. 306-7. Panofsky offers convinc- 1 7 Pressman, Lenore Graceland Cemetery:
ing grammatical evidence that the latter A Historical and Artistic Guide Illinois Arts
translation, with Death as the speaker in the Council (Chicago) 1976 [p. 12). Also, the
present tense, is the correct one. author discussed Mies van der Robe's tomb
with Dirk Lohan in March 1984 when Lohan
9 Panofsky maintains (pp. 311-16) that visited the Kent State University campus.
18 Von Eckardt, Wolf Eric Mendelsohn facts, gleaned from various articles in the
George Braziller (New York) 1960, pp. 30-31. Kent State University student newspaper.
112. Mendelsohn's first version for the Holo- The Daily Kent Stater, are outlined as follows:
caust Memorial included a plaza, a partially Ian Tabemer was proclaimed the winner of
covered assembly hall, a commemorative the competition on April 4, 1986, but was
wall, and two tall tablet-like pillars symboliz- disqualified just a few days later by Kent
ing the tablets of the Ten Commandments. State University President Michael Schwartz
The second version synthesized those ele- after Tabemer had informed Schwartz of the
ments into a simpler composition which citizenship problem. Schwartz declared Tab-
emphasized the tablets and a wall cut into a emer's competition partner, Michael G.
hillside. Fahey. to be the new winner: however. Fahey
refused the award and its associated respon-
19 Scruggs, p. 77. sibilities, citing Tabemer's almost exclusive
authorship of the design. Rather than dis-

20 ibid. See also Arnold Whittick, War Me- qualify Tabemer's design, too, the university

morials Country Life Limited (London) 1946, attempted to build the design without Tab-
pp. 34-35, 49, 51. emer's direct participation. Negotiations to

employ Tabemer as a consultant broke

21 Lutyens. Mary Edwin Lutyens John dovwi. Ironically, in terms of the theme of this
Murray (London) 1980. p. 154. paper, the university's insistence that the
memorial not have names inscribed on it and
22 Scruggs, pp. 83, 153. that it be built of less costly concrete instead
of stone were rumored to be at least two of the
23 The differences between the two compe- issues which eventually led to the breakdown
titions have been less frequently mentioned. of negotiations. The university then declared
Prime among those differences is the pro- Bruno Ast's second-place design to be the
posed location of the May 4 Memorial at the winner on July 2, 1986. Tabemer's ensuing
site of the tragic event it is to commemorate. lawsuit was eventually settled out of court. It

That site has a dramatic slope unlike the is difficult to understand why the university
relatively flat terrain of the Constitution relaxed its enforcement of the competition
Gardens where the Vietnam Veterans Memo- rules in the first place. Had they followed the
rial is located. Yet the implications of differing advice in chapter ten of the Spreiregen's book
site response did not generate two dissimilar on competitions, they might have avoided
winning designs. Indeed, the presence of this remarkable chain of embarrassing

advisor Spreiregen and juror Grady Clay on events. See Paul D. Spreiregen, Design Com-
both competition panels may even have petitions McGraw-Hill (New York) 1979, p.

prompted a few May 4 Memorial competitors 275.

to model their proposals on Maya Lin's de-

sign. But, as my main text emphasizes, 25 In rejecting Segal's sculpture, university

programmatic parameters and judging crite- suggested to him that he try the motif

ria aside, what the two separate winning of anude woman using her feminine wiles to
entries most shared was the perception that tempt a soldier into putting down his rifle and
an elegiac concept would be most fitting. leaving the battlefield. See Sam Hunter and
Unfortunately. Kent State University has yet Don Hawthorne. George Segal Rizzoli (New
to publish a catalogue of representative York) 1984, p. 344. It is important to note
samples from its national competition, so that most published photographs of the Segal
thatit is difficult to make any further assess- sculpture focus only on the figures and crop
ments concerning differences or similarities out that half of the statue's pedestal which
between the two competitions. supports only a spatial void above. Had equal
emphasis been given to that void, different
24 The history of the May 4 Memorial com- interpretations might have been read into the
petition is as complex as it is interesting. As sculpture thus rendering it more acceptable.
such, it deserves its own paper: but the basic The Segal sculpture was eventually donated
to Princeton University whose officials cusses the relationship of the sacred grove,
praised the bronze sculpture as a noteworthy as a space free of social or behavioral control,
return to the monumental origins of sculp- to the early American rural church camp
ture. They claimed that it afforded our pres- meetings. Perhaps it is of no consequence

ent-day society the opportunity to express that the same carnival atmosphere which
our culture in a more meaningful way than do pervaded those meetings is played out each
some twentieth-century pieces of abstract May 4 on the Commons and the wooded
art. memorial site at Kent State University.

26 Jackson, John Brinckerhoff "The Neces- 37 Hawthorne, Nathaniel The House of the
sity for Ruins" In The Necessity for Ruins and Seven Gables New American Library (New
Other Topics University of Massachusetts York) 1961, p. 244. Hawthorne's novel was
Press (Amherst) 1980. p. 93. first published in 1851.

27 Ted Curtis was the university architect.

His design was to measure 18 feet long. 12
feet high, and about 3 feet deep. He proposed

locating it at one end of the Taylor Hall

parking lot.

28 Curtis likened his design to Oberlins

Memorial Arch at a meeting with Kent State
University architecture students on March
13, 1980. Also, see Geoffrey Blodgett, Oberlin
Architecture. College and Town: A Guide to Its
Social History Kent State University Press
(Kent) 1985, pp. 12-13.

29 Blodgett, pp. 207-8.

30 Panofsky, pp. 304-9.

31 ibid. p. 309. Also, see Ernest T. DeWald

Italian Painting. 1200-1600 Holt, Rinehart,
and Winston (New York) 1961, pp. 171-73.

32 By contrast, Panofsky, p. 312, claims

that Poussin's second version breaks radi-
cally in all respects with earlier versions.

33 Hart had been awarded third place in the

competition. See Scruggs, pp. 49, 51, 64,
101, 116, 128-29, ef passim.

34 ibid., pp. 148, 153-54.

35 ibid., pp. 73. 133, reports that J. Carter

Brown, chairman of the powerful Fine Arts
Commission in Washington, D.C., consid-
ered the Mall to be "sacred turf."

36 Jackson, 'The Sacred Grove in America"

Necessity, pp. 77-88 more thoroughly dis-