CNU XV New Urbanism and the Old City by mzq79210

VIEWS: 13 PAGES: 11

									               Keynote Address



 CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
           Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



             Robert A.M. Stern
                 May 19, 2007
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 1 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Thank you to the members of the Congress for this tremendous honor and thank
                               you for your generous introduction. You are a great myth-maker—and I do so
                               want to believe the myth and I will surely try to live up to it.

                               As an architect my approach is necessarily principally concerned with the form of
                               our cities, both the design of the public realm and of the buildings that define it.
                               But it is not enough to shape cities—our cities need to be orchestrated to address
                               the contradictory social and economic conditions that define modern democratic
                               life.

                               This talk grows out of my conviction that at the core of almost all of the design
                               work of the Congress for the New Urbanism lies a grand yet undervalued, 150-
                               year-old planning tradition, that of the garden city suburb. But I would be remiss
                               were I to fail to point out that the new plans promoted by the CNU somehow lack
                               the social urgency and criticality that was integral to the garden city suburb in its
                               glory days between 1850 and 1940. Sadly, today, good planning has become less
                               an ideal and more a marketing ploy. We all know that this reflects the nature of
                               our American capitalist system—so probably no one's to blame. Nonetheless, we
                               need to keep in mind that our approach is formalist rather than systematic. Still,
                               the garden city suburb tradition can enrich our work today, not only by providing
                               planning strategies and formal tropes but also by reconnecting what we do with
                               the broader social currents that we must engage with as city-builders.

                               The garden city suburb was a remarkable achievement,1 and it was deeply engaged
                               in development economics, in social issues, and in civic reform. In the post-
                               World War II era, it was demonized by modernist architects and planners who
                               resented the middle class—they were middle class, and so they hated the middle
                               class. This is ironic, given that the great modernist architects and planners of the
                               1920s and 1930s, who had a genuine interest in social reform that benefited the
                               working class, absorbed much of the garden city suburb tradition into their own
                               work. For example, one of Le Corbusier's earliest projects was a quite
                               conventional garden suburb in Normandy2—very bourgeois in tone. But afterLe
                               Corbusier found his mature artistic voice, his village at Pessac3 of 1925 remains a
                               garden suburb—but the architecture is transformed by the machine-derived
                               aesthetic he felt best expressed a new social order. Moreover, Le Corbusier
                               described his brilliant but destructive proposal for the rebuilding of Paris4 as a
                               vertical garden city, making it perfectly clear that the garden city ideal was
                               intimately part of the most important modernist's planning agenda. The
                               persistence of the garden city suburb type can also be seen in the housing estate at
                               Weissenhof, Stuttgart,5 planned by Mies van der Rohe, or in the expansion of the
                               city of Frankfurt by Ernst May6 or of city of Berlin by Martin Wagner and Bruno

                               1
                                 St. Louis, Missouri: Portland Place (Julius Pitzman, 1889).
                               2
                                 St.-Nicholas-d'Aliermont, Normandy, France: Cité Ouvrière (Workers' housing)
                               (Le Corbusier, 1917 – 1919).
                               3
                                 Pessac, France: Workers' housing (Le Corbusier, 1925 – 1926).
                               4
                                 Plan Voisin. (Le Corbusier, 1925).
                               5
                                 Stuttgart, Germany: Weissenhof (Mies van der Rohe, 1927).
                               6
                                 Frankfurt, Germany: Siedlung Römerstadt (Ernst May, 1927 – 1928).
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 2 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Taut.7 Unfortunately, by the time it reached the United States,8 the modernist
                               garden city that had flourished in Europe had been lobotomized into a rigid
                               formula driven by simplistic interpretations of solar orientation and a desire to
                               divorce the new from the old.9

                               What is a garden city suburb? At its best the planned garden suburb is an
                               attainable, inhabitable Arcadia only a short ride from the business district of a city,
                               where each family can dwell in dignity in a single or collective house. While it
                               can sometimes be located at some distance from a city, it was almost never
                               imagined as being apart from or independent of the city. Interestingly and
                               knowingly, the suburban development that Witold Rybczynski chronicles in his
                               new book is called Arcadia.

                               The Arcadia company may be with us, but that's about all. In the last half century,
                               we have lost almost all sense of the great tradition of the planned garden city
                               suburb. What we have now in the way of urban and suburban development is
                               what Rem Koolhaas has cynically but accurately described as junk space—not
                               neighborhoods or garden towns but zones of development in a sea of sprawl.10
                               Amidst that sea there are occasionally developments that are oases of planned
                               civility, like Kentlands in Maryland. But what does Kentlands count for given the
                               juggernaut of the roadside strip and the impersonal residential subdivision that
                               form its larger context? The CNU rightfully takes pride in small victories against
                               the juggernaut of the roadside strip and the subdivision. But frankly, I think this is
                               like whistling in the dark. I wonder, are the real issues implied by the
                               organization's name Congress for the New Urbanism really addressed? I wonder
                               if the real force of traditional urban development can find its expression in the
                               exurban fringes where CNU projects abound. As I see it, the CNU should tackle
                               the urbanism of long-established cities where a surprising number of Americans
                               seem to feel more and more comfortable in putting down roots? Whole
                               neighborhoods in established cities are being re-occupied by young and old alike,
                               although that process is one of renewal of existing building fabric and not of new
                               construction. I believe that in many reviving cities, even those as populous as
                               New York, there are great fields of opportunity for the new urbanism. I also
                               believe, regrettably, that too many New Urbanists have situated themselves and
                               their movement in the cozy corner of leafy suburbanism because it's easy to look
                               good when everything around you is so bad. But in so doing, I believe the CNU
                               ignores the responsibilities of its own movement. I believe that as new urbanists
                               grow in number, the new urbanism does not grow in scope and dimension.

                               My sense of lost motion and misapplied energy was reinforced when I read Witold
                               Rybczynski's newest book Last Harvest,11 which undertakes in less than 300
                               wonderfully written pages to explain "real estate development in America from

                               7
                                 Berlin, Germany: Berlin-Britz (Bruno Taut & Martin Wagner, 1925 – 1931).
                               8
                                 Brooklyn, New York: Williamsburg Houses (Richmond H. Shreve and William
                               Lescaze, 1934-38).
                               9
                                 New York, New York: Alfred E. Smith Houses (Eggers & Higgins, 1952).
                               10
                                  Aerial views of soulless suburbs.
                               11
                                  Book cover: Witold Rybczynski's Last Harvest (2007).
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 3 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   George Washington to the builders of the twenty-first century and why we live in
                               houses anyway." Rybczynski's book is very revealing. In his quiet way Witold
                               makes it clear that traditional town design has become all too much a marketing
                               ploy, and that the architects and planners involved in traditional town development
                               frequently know very little if any more about town-making than other developers.
                               Rybczynski makes it clear that the New Urbanism is drifting away from urbanism.

                               Too bad, because the garden city suburb tradition that constitutes the underlying
                               backbone of New Urbanism was intensely involved with urban problems. Those
                               who have taken the time to look closely into the garden suburb tradition, that is,
                               those who have looked beneath its shaded streets and appealing house types to the
                               social relationships that these plans embodied, have discovered that planned
                               suburban towns were the product of developers and architects working to meet
                               both the material and the spiritual needs of people acting together as a holistic
                               urban community—trying to forge a new kind of metropolitan community with
                               plans broad enough to allow for both arcadia and polis, country and city, and for
                               many classes of people.

                               Now, for what it's worth, a little personal history. The design of new suburbs was
                               the furthest thing from my mind when I proposed Subway Suburb12 in 1976, a
                               proposal that has been acknowledged as a starting point of the traditional town
                               movement. I arrived at the idea of the Subway Suburb by way of a serendipitous
                               journey that can be said to have begun right here in Philadelphia. In his book,
                               Witold Rybczynski points out that early on in my career, when I was researching
                               the work of the architect George Howe who built so many wonderful houses and
                               buildings in this city and its suburbs, Robert Venturi took me through the French
                               Village in Chestnut Hill.13 This tour that sparked my curiosity about planned
                               garden suburbs, an historical phenomenon which had previously been brought to
                               my attention in a cursory way by the architectural historian Vincent Scully and the
                               urban scholar Christopher Tunnard. Chestnut Hill proved to be my Rosetta stone.
                               Located just within the boundaries of Philadelphia, nestled between the historic
                               settlement of Germantown and the forests of Fairmount Park, Chestnut Hill
                               combines a splendid sense of isolation with convenient access via railroad to the
                               center of the city of which it has always been a part. It was incorporated into the
                               city in 1854, the same year that the Chestnut Hill Railroad began service from
                               Philadelphia. Henry Howard Houston, a director of the Pennsylvania Railroad,
                               was an inspired entrepreneur who recognized that suburban train stations could
                               become the loci around which recreational centers and residential development
                               would naturally take place. His son-in-law Dr. George Woodward, who was
                               seriously involved with the English garden suburb movement, carried on
                               Houston's work in the years leading up to World War II, 14 so that in this city, from
                               1854 to the mid-1930s, Chestnut Hill was developed as on of the great exemplars
                               of what we should all be fighting for—an in-city garden suburb enclave connected

                               12
                                  Subway Suburb (Robert A.M. Stern, 1976). Cover.
                               13
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Chestnut Hill's French Village (Robert Rodes
                               McGoodwin, 1919). Gatehouse; plan.
                               14
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Chestnut Hill's French Village (Robert Rodes
                               McGoodwin, 1919). Street scenes.
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 4 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   by rapid transit to the central business district just twenty minutes away. Houston
                               did not have a strong architectural vision but Woodward did and he commissioned
                               many different architects who, working with the local stone, created a local
                               vernacular rooted in Cotswold England and Norman France.

                               In 1976, with the George Howe book behind me, and with an invitation to join
                               seven other American architects as representatives of the United States at the first-
                               ever architectural exhibition at the Venice Biennale, I persuaded my colleagues to
                               unite our individual presentations behind the theme of the suburb. This was done
                               because most of us—the group included Peter Eisenman and Stanley Tigerman—
                               had never designed anything much bigger than a suburban house and because the
                               American suburb was so completely opposite to the tradition of European
                               urbanism. My theoretical project for the 1976 Venice Biennale was "Subway
                               Suburb."15 Subway Suburb was not about the flight from the inner city to the
                               suburbs that characterized the post-World War II scene. Quite the opposite, it
                               called for the introduction of the garden suburb type into those areas of the central
                               cities where the prevailing mode of redevelopment—the disconnected vertical
                               garden cities of towers in the park—had clearly failed. Subway Suburb was an
                               attempt to take back the garden city suburb movement from the modernists who
                               had so transformed it that it was no longer recognizable or meaningful. Subway
                               Suburb was proposed for a site in the most socially and physically devastated area
                               of Brooklyn, New York. But it could have been set in Detroit, St. Louis, Boston,
                               or Philadelphia, all equally in need of a new model for rebuilding. Subway
                               Suburb mixed high-style formal elements such as Regency crescents with the
                               vernacular of working-class cottages16 in a scheme that recognized the value of the
                               existing streets and the utilities buried underneath them, that took advantage of
                               available rail transportation, and proximity to the central city and its jobs. Subway
                               Suburb revived the garden city suburb tradition, but because it proposed to do so
                               as a means of reclaiming the burned-out areas at the edges of our inner cities,
                               Subway Suburb redirected what had been dismissed as a socially irrelevant
                               phenomenon—the planned garden suburb—and put it to work as a model for
                               rebuilding the devastated wastelands of socially troubled inner cities.

                               Subway Suburb was not about edge city, or the open country, or sprawl. In fact, I
                               would argue, it corrected a fundamental misconception of the garden city suburb
                               type. It recognized that long-familiar garden city suburb enclaves such as one
                               finds at Hampstead Garden Suburb in London17 or at Forest Hills Gardens,18 in
                               Queens, New York, were built within the confines of the city and could not be
                               understood apart from the cities that formed their larger setting.




                               15
                                  Subway Suburb (Robert A.M. Stern, 1976). Plan; aerial.
                               16
                                  Subway Suburb (Robert A.M. Stern, 1976). Renderings.
                               17
                                  London, England: Hampstead Garden Suburb (Parker & Unwin, 1906). Right:
                               Waterlow Court (M. Baillie Scott, 1908 – 1909).
                               18
                                  Queens, New York: Forest Hills Gardens (Grosvenor Atterbury, 1912).
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 5 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Subway Suburb was conceived at a time when the devastation of the inner cities
                               was the focus of national attention,19 a time when doom-and-gloom despair was
                               accompanied by precious little in the way of creative thinking about how to repair
                               the damage. Subway Suburb was practical and theoretical: it addressed the urgent
                               need to rebuild the city—not to escape from it. Teaching at Yale and at Columbia,
                               I asked students to test the idea of inner-city suburban design on various other
                               sites in New York. At Yale,20 Gavin Macrae-Gibson, an English student first
                               trained at the University of Cambridge, imagined the Charlotte Street area of the
                               South Bronx area I assigned as a walled village inside of which was a rich mix of
                               familiar house types21 from gatehouses to manor houses22 but adapted to the
                               requirements of small families. At Columbia, Roger Seifter, now a partner in my
                               professional office, transformed the blank canvas of a different South Bronx
                               neighborhood near Crotona Park23 into an enclave of apartment houses
                               surrounding a green courtyard.24

                               To further the argument implicit in Subway Suburb I proposed in an article written
                               for Architectural Record in 197825 that a long-overdue look at the garden city
                               suburb type could supply much-needed models for the redevelopment of the vast,
                               virtually empty urban wastelands that lie between the inner cores of our cities and
                               the suburbs beyond in what, for the sake of argument, I called the "middle city."
                               Over and over again I hammered away at the Subway Suburb idea—that new
                               suburbs should be built where they are really needed, not in the remote rural
                               reaches beyond the outer city, but in the inner cities where the existing network of
                               roads, rapid transit, and utilities were all in place, and where the sudden
                               availability of land with no evident higher use made it possible to introduce this
                               remarkable, time-tested urban construct to meet the needs of the lower middle
                               class and the poor.

                               At last in the mid-1980s the idea of Subway Suburb led to real action. But what a
                               travesty! I refer to the transformation by the New York State Urban Development
                               Corporation of Charlotte Street26 into Charlotte Gardens,27 The Bronx, where pre-
                               manufactured suburban houses were erected on the site that my Yale students had
                               studied. The result was a ridiculously low density enclave, but one that
                               nonetheless clearly challenged the prevailing models of urban regeneration.

                               19
                                  Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan visiting Charlotte Street, August 5, 1980.
                               In background is the mural Broken Promises (John Fekner, 1980).
                               20
                                  South Bronx, New York: scheme for Charlotte Street (Gavin Macrae-Gibson,
                               ca. 1978).
                               21
                                  South Bronx, New York: scheme for Charlotte Street (Gavin Macrae-Gibson,
                               ca. 1978).
                               22
                                  South Bronx, New York: scheme for Charlotte Street (Gavin Macrae-Gibson,
                               ca. 1978).
                               23
                                  South Bronx, New York: blight at Crotona Park.
                               24
                                  South Bronx, New York: scheme for Crotona Park. Roger Seifter, ca. 1978.
                               25
                                  "The Suburban Alternative for the Middle City," Architectural Record, August
                               1978 (Robert A.M. Stern).
                               26
                                  South Bronx, New York: blight on Charlotte Street, 1981.
                               27
                                  South Bronx, New York: Charlotte Gardens, 1989.
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 6 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Mayberry or Levittown in the South Bronx was not what I had in mind, but
                               nonetheless the presence of those houses in that area had a powerful effect,
                               leading to its dramatic revitalization of the entire South Bronx in the 1990s.
                               Moreover, the success of this inept initiative of the New York State Urban
                               Development's Charlotte Gardens paved the way for the very many much better
                               Hope VI projects of the 1990s followed—so all was not completely in vain.

                               My work on Subway Suburb made me recognize that there was a lost history of
                               planning that needed to be rediscovered for contemporary practice. In 1981,
                               working with John Massengale, I wrote The Anglo-American Suburb,28 which was
                               published as a special edition of the British journal Architectural Design. A
                               slender handbook, it was modeled along the lines of Hegemann and Peets' book
                               Civic Art. The Anglo-American Suburb all too briefly surveyed two centuries of
                               planned suburban towns. It deliberately included many garden suburbs built
                               specifically for industrial workers like Pullman, Illinois,29 and Port Sunlight,
                               Lancashire; Kohler, Wisconsin30; Tyrone, New Mexico; Yorkship Village,
                               Camden, New Jersey31—visited by this Congress—and Seaside Village in
                               Bridgeport, Connecticut. I point to the great tradition of garden suburbs for
                               industrial workers because I think that while the garden suburb movement of a
                               hundred years ago had a social conscience, the traditional town movement of
                               today does not appear to, and as a result it has not provided powerful answers to
                               the criticism that it is geared to the taste sensibilities of upper-middle-class
                               Americans.

                               To conclude this portion of my talk, with your permission let me re-emphasize the
                               fact that the great exemplars of the plans we may build as traditional towns were
                               the planned garden suburbs of the 19th and early 20th centuries; and that they were
                               a remarkable achievement. But too many who plan traditional towns today are
                               largely ignorant of this tradition and tend to model their work on only the recent
                               history that began in Seaside. For this reason the traditional town movement is
                               very near to dying on the aesthetic vine—it is in danger of becoming as formulaic
                               and cookie-cutter as the demented versions of Le Corbusier's vertical garden city.

                               After a fifteen year hiatus, my involvement with the traditional town movement
                               began once again with Celebration, Florida, which was planned from 1987 on in
                               partnership with Jaquelin Robertson and which was given its structural legs, as it
                               were, by the architectural guidelines developed by Ray Gindroz. My partners Paul
                               Whalen and Daniel Lobitz, who worked with me on Celebration, are here at this

                               28
                                  The Anglo American Suburb (Robert A.M. Stern with John Massengale, 1981):
                               cover.
                               29
                                  The Anglo American Suburb. Left: Pullman, Illinois (Solon Spencer Beman,
                               1880). Right: Port Sunlight, Lancashire (Thomas Mawson, 1888).
                               30
                                  The Anglo American Suburb. Left: Kohler, Wisconsin (Olmsted Brothers with
                               Richard Philipp, 1913). Right: Tyrone, New Mexico (Bertram Grosvenor
                               Goodhue, 1915).
                               31
                                  The Anglo American Suburb. Left: Camden, New Jersey: Yorkship Village
                               (Electus D. Litchfield, 1918). Right: Bridgeport, Connecticut: Seaside Village. (R.
                               Clipston Sturgis, 1918).
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 7 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Congress. Celebration owes a great debt to Seaside,32 the first realized paradigm
                               of garden suburb renewal, and I want to make the debt very clear and public.
                               Celebration owes much not only to the ideas of Duany, Plater-Zyberk's plan, but
                               also to the enlightened entrepreneurship of Robert Davis, who put his money
                               where his ideals were. When Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company,
                               visited Seaside, the decision whether or not to build Celebration was being
                               debated at the company's highest levels. Eisner was not only impressed by
                               Seaside as a place but also impressed by Robert Davis's commitment in getting
                               those ideas realized. As a result of his visit to Seaside, Eisner sensed the
                               magnitude of impact that a large project in the tradition of planned garden
                               suburban towns could have not only on contemporary real estate development but
                               also on contemporary urban life.

                               Seaside is an 80-acre resort. Celebration is a town—10,000 acres, of which 5,000
                               acres are dedicated open space. Seaside is not near a city; Celebration is ten miles
                               south of the center of Orlando, Florida. In planning Celebration we learned from
                               Seaside but we had to go much further. Celebration had to prove that it would be
                               possible to successfully develop a new garden city suburb for year-round living—
                               that the ideas of the new urbanism were not only suitable for the select few on
                               vacation but for the very many who seek a good balance between country and city
                               life on a day-to-day basis.

                               The idea that an ideal planned town should be part of Disney's property in central
                               Florida had been articulated by Walt Disney himself,33 who in 1966 envisioned a
                               city of the future: Epcot.34 But in its realization thirty years later, Disney's
                               Celebration was very different from Walt Disney's futuristic vision. On 5,000
                               developable acres, Celebration houses 9,000 people and provides jobs for
                               thousands more in offices, hospitals, schools, and shops. Celebration is one of the
                               few large American planned garden suburban towns to be realized. The only thing
                               comparable to it is the great Country Club district of Kansas City, developed by
                               J.C. Nichols.35

                               Celebration36 is rooted in history. It belongs to a chain of planned garden city
                               suburbs that extends from Olmsted & Vaux's Riverside, Illinois, of 1869. But—
                               and this is crucial—it is equally rooted in traditional American urbanism as a
                               whole. The design of Celebration draws on some of the most successful American
                               towns—not only planned towns, but just as significantly towns that evolved
                               naturally, like East Hampton, New York,37 and Charleston, South Carolina38—
                               towns that have met the tests of time.


                               32
                                  Seaside, Florida (Duany, Plater-Zyberk). Aerial view.
                               33
                                  Walt Disney with quote.
                               34
                                  Walt Disney with scheme for Epcot, 1966.
                               35
                                  Kansas City, Missouri: Country Club District (J.C. Nichols, developer, 1907).
                               36
                                  Celebration, Florida (Robert A.M. Stern and Cooper Robertson, 1997). Aerial
                               view.
                               37
                                  East Hampton, New York.
                               38
                                  Charleston, South Carolina.
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 8 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   Ad lib: Celebration: presentation of the town and its precedents.39

                               I do not believe that the CNU has yet sufficiently taken the traditional town
                               planning movement to the urban scale—that it has not yet flexed its muscles in the
                               big cities where the really important battles must be fought. The CNU has been
                               focused on exurban land development—which is understandable from the point of
                               view of marketplace trends. But just as those trends once seemed unstoppable,
                               there is also increasing evidence that re-settlement of the inner cities, where the
                               voice of the CNU has been largely unheard, is taking place. There are some
                               notable high-density examples of traditional neighborhood town planning that
                               suggest that the CNU's principles can work at big city scale, not just village scale.
                               In New York, Battery Park City is a vast complex of apartments, hotels, office
                               buildings, and educational institutions along the Hudson River in Lower
                               Manhattan. Alexander Cooper and Stanton Eckstut planned Battery Park City.
                               Much of the landfill came from the excavation for the World Trade Center,40
                               which lay to the east of Battery Park City. I know Battery Park City as someone
                               who has worked on various detailed plans for its neighborhoods and designed two
                               apartment houses at its north end.41 Battery Park City works as a vertical garden
                               suburb. For this reason—that is, because it is a part of the city yet somehow apart
                               from it as well, Battery Park City is not and has never been the darling of the
                               intellectuals, who object to the restrained vernacular of its architecture and to the
                               fact that the development is somewhat isolated from the city as a whole.42 The
                               intellectuals dismiss it as suburban—I guess because it is so very nice. Yet
                               Battery Park City succeeds, because of a coherent plan that combines gridded
                               streets that reflect Manhattan street patterns and connect to them where feasible,
                               and because it has a network of green open spaces43 threaded through it, and
                               because it offers a rich mix of community experiences within its own confines. It
                               is a vertical garden suburb within the city, a late 20th-century, uniquely New York
                               answer to the Hampsteads and the Forest Hills Gardens of a hundred years ago.

                               In our own small way at Arnhem,44 in the Netherlands, Musiskwartier, a project
                               recognized with a Charter Award by last year's Congress, transforms key blocks in
                               the formerly industrial part of the city through the creation of a market square
                               surrounded by new buildings incorporating ground-floor retail with residential
                               space above.45 Again, my partners Paul Whalen and Daniel Lobitz collaborated
                               with me. At Arnhem, a large amount of retail, including big-box uses, fit into the
                               lower two floors, the cellar, and underneath the new plaza.46 The top floors are

                               39
                                  Celebration sequence.
                               40
                                  New York, New York: Landfill at what would become Battery Park City.
                               41
                                  New York, New York: Battery Park City (Cooper Eckstut, 1979). Aerial views.
                               World Financial Center (Cesar Pelli, ____).
                               42
                                  New York, New York: Battery Park City (Cooper Eckstut, 1979). Details.
                               43
                                  New York, New York: Battery Park City: Tribeca Green (Robert A.M. Stern,
                               2005); Teardrop Park.
                               44
                                  Arnhem, the Netherlands. Musiskwartier (Robert A.M. Stern, 2006). Aerial
                               diagram.
                               45
                                  Arnhem, the Netherlands. Musiskwartier (Robert A.M. Stern, 2006). Drawings.
                               46
                                  Arnhem, the Netherlands. Musiskwartier (Robert A.M. Stern, 2006). Passage.
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 9 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   residential, bringing urban liveliness to this formerly under-utilized
                               neighborhood.47 Planted rooftop courtyards provide quiet spaces above the retail
                               sections and behind the apartment buildings.48

                               I would be remiss if I did not share with you a current project of ours right here in
                               Philadelphia,49 where the 1,000 acre Navy Yard, comparable in size to Center
                               City, lies 3.5 miles south of City Hall at the foot of the historic Broad Street axis.50
                               The Philadelphia Navy Yard enjoys six miles of waterfront along the Schuylkill
                               and Delaware Rivers.51 It includes over 187 historic buildings within the
                               Nationally Registered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Historic District.52 Our master
                               plan for the Navy Yard, undertaken together with a public private partnership of
                               the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and developer Liberty
                               Property Trust/Synterra Partners, envisions an incubator for a succession of future
                               possibilities53: a mixed-use community of office, residential, institutional, research
                               and development, retail, and recreation uses.54 The plan establishes a clear
                               hierarchy of streets and a variety of public spaces including 27 acres of wetlands.
                               The plan emphasizes sustainable design, with programs for mass transit, storm
                               water retention and filtering, and sustainable design standards for new
                               construction. Studies are under way to extend the Broad Street subway line to the
                               site's heart and perhaps in the future a link to PATCO, the regional commuter
                               trains that connect Philadelphia with Camden, New Jersey, across the river.
                               Already, Urban Outfitters has moved its headquarters staff of 650 people to a
                               renovated warehouse and our One Crescent Drive office building55 is fully leased;
                               other important companies are moving there, including Tastee Cakes, a
                               Philadelphia institution.

                               At first blush 42nd Street and Times Square are about as far from the bucolic
                               charms of Seaside or Celebration as can be.56 But the principles that lie behind the
                               successful reinvention of New York's once derelict entertainment district are very


                               47
                                  Arnhem, the Netherlands. Musiskwartier (Robert A.M. Stern, 2006). Plaza.
                               48
                                  Arnhem, the Netherlands. Musiskwartier (Robert A.M. Stern, 2006). Renderings
                               of rooftop residential courtyards.
                               49
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Locator map.
                               50
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Aerial rendering looking southeast.
                               51
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Existing conditions aerial view looking east.
                               52
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Historic buildings.
                               53
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Detail aerial renderings: Central Green (top), Triangle Park at office campus.
                               (bottom).
                               54
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Navy Yard (Robert A.M. Stern, 2003).
                               Detail aerial renderings: Drydock 1 Plaza (left), marina (right).
                               55
                                  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: One Crescent Drive (Robert A.M. Stern, 2005).
                               56
                                  New York, New York: 42nd Street, 1992.
                               460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel 212 967 5100 Fax 212 967 5588


                               Keynote Address
                               CNU XV: New Urbanism and the Old City
                               Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference
                               Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                               May 19, 2007

                               Page 10 of 10


Robert A.M. Stern Architects   important to any approach to town-rebuilding.57 Time does not allow me to take
                               you through the 42nd Street story.

                               But I do want to bring to your attention the six governing principles we developed
                               with our collaborator, the designer Tibor Kalman. Paul Whalen, by the way,
                               worked with me on 42nd Street, as he did on Celebration and Arnhem—the change
                               of scale but not of principle should be noted. I urge that these six principles be
                               seriously considered as fundamental to the design work of the CNU.

                               Ad lib: the six principles.58

                               So I come back to the beginning, in 1975 when I started my suburban journey—
                               not with the intention of aiding and abetting the sprawl of American settlement,
                               but with the intention of returning to life the devastated wastelands of the areas
                               just beyond the central business districts of our cities. The lessons of the new
                               urbanism must be applied to cities. The new urbanism must live up to its name; it
                               must grow up, move from the fringe to the core. It must take on more than the
                               single-family house and the occasional neighborhood retail center. The traditional
                               town planning movement must embrace inner-city life. The Congress for the New
                               Urbanism must be more than a ULI for exurban homebuilders.

                               My suburban journey began with George Howe, the Philadelphia Beaux-Arts-
                               trained architect who became a modernist but never lost his footing in the grand
                               traditions of his profession. When a fellow architect or student was confronted
                               with small-minded naysayers, Howe would advise them by quoting from the Latin
                               his personal motto: "Non illegitimus carborundum est," which roughly translates
                               as "Don't let the bastards wear you down." The challenge I offer you is a tough
                               one, and there will be many who say the urban challenge cannot be met. But,
                               keeping Howe in mind, I assure you it can be done. And whatever the naysayers
                               may say—don't let them wear you down.

                               Thank you.




                               57
                                    New York, New York: 42nd Street Now! (Robert A.M. Stern).
                               58
                                    Six principles—one slide each.

								
To top