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Thread: 'new' urbanism in a big-city context: vancouver

  1. #26
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    Nice.I like these clean skycrapers.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Skyscrapers.....hmmmm

    Overall, the photos show what looks liek a dense, diverse city.

    However, I am a bit surprised by the enthusiasm for the very tall condos/skyscrapers.

    Most people intersted in urban form would agree that cul-de-sacs and lollipos are a bad idea and that gated/non-connected communities pose problems, yes?. A skyscraper is exactly the same thing, only vertical isntead of horizontal. less sprawl, agreed, but also more weird convection effects, shadow and other issues. Indeed, the only way they can be bearable is if they are thin. But then, you waste the space you wanted to save. Rather than a dozen thin skyscrapes why not continuous 4-5-story townbhosues and apartment buildings? Aside for safety/firefighting considerations, the scale is much more human and you don't have to mandate pediments. To me, for a large modern high-density city, New York circa 1880s is about perfect as urban form. That or 18th century London urban garden squares. Quite dense AND green space AND gorgeous. If one is ideologically opposed to Palladian architecture on the grounds of aesthetic excellence, then why not go for Art Deco or even the sunnier strands of Bauhaus cubism?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    How is a skyscraper the same as a gated community? I've heard this argument before and I don't really buy it. If that were the case, then any building with locked lobbies and passageways is a gated community (which is to say, most of those 4-5 story buildings).

    The problem in Vancouver is that the vast majority of the city is single-family sprawl. But now there is significant demand for more housing. The city has (very progressively) adopted a policy of dense inner-city growth in order to limit the amount of greenfield sprawl. But the amount of developable land is very small (just the abandoned industrial zones around the center).

    The skyscrapers provide enough density to ensure that a large amount of new housing in the region is infill, and the podiums ensure that the new neighborhoods aren't just density sans urbanity, as it were. Sure, if they were designing a new city from scratch, this would be a less-than-optimal solution. But given the constraints that exist in Vancouver, it works very well.
    Last edited by jordanb; 30 Mar 2005 at 11:45 AM.

  4. #29

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    If one is ideologically opposed to Palladian architecture on the grounds of aesthetic excellence, then why not go for Art Deco or even the sunnier strands of Bauhaus cubism?
    How could one even be ideologically opposed to neoclassicism?

    (Just Kidding). As long as the neoclassicism uses quality materials and PROPORTIONS! (I like Art Deco, too, and I would not be opposed to seeing Tel Aviv circa 1935)

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    How could one even be ideologically opposed to neoclassicism?
    maybe, like, 99% of architects ?????

    why? (reporting thigns I ahve actually heard/read) It is Eurocentric, it's pastiche, it's unoriginal, we can't afford it, no one can build those things anymore, the Nazis liked it so it must be evil, we can't jsut keep building edifices in the same way copying the past.

    think Paternoster Square, think the riverside at Richmond.... I'd say neoclassical is almost "forbidden". Roll on 'glass canopy' Foster and his tacky little henchmen.

  6. #31
    jordan has it -- in an ideal universe, cities would be more like paris and less like vancouver. but considering market demands and geographical constraints, i say that vancouver has done an exceptional job: combined two/three-storey podiums with extremely thin towers. it's worked, too: the streetlife in vancouver's downtown peninsula is just as consistently vibrant as in more established cities like montreal or toronto.

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