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Old April 30th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #1
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A history of cities in 50 buildings [series from The Guardian]

Manchester (UK) newspaper The Guardian has an excellent ongoing series on 50 buildings that are somehow relevant in the history of their role in cities and time. It is not a "the best" list of architectural merits, it is more about an intersection of architecture, urban features and the built-up environment in history.

I highly recommend people to check it out (it is still day 27 and they publish a new building's article every day). I'll post just a couple bits of some of the articles on specific buildings (hope this is okay).
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Old April 30th, 2015, 02:23 PM   #2
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Berlin's flat-roofed Hufeisensiedlung
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When you walk along the long red block to that horseshoe, however, you can see opposite some rather different housing – this time with much more muted colours, white with a little sky-blue to the doorways, Biedemeier-style details, dormer windows, shutters and big, deep pitched roofs. This is because Berlin-Britz is one of those few places where a political and architectural dispute were played out in a very direct way – with modernism and traditionalism literally pitted against each other. This was already controversial, though, as the largest scale modernist housing project that had happened anywhere at that date – housing not the rarefied clientele of Le Corbusier’s then-celebrated modernist villas, but a population of working class Berliners.



The Horseshoe Estate was not modernism as a style, but as a new way of life – a vision of humanised technology, tamed nature, and a modern, confident, social, communal approach to the city. And right at the heart of it, just past the horseshoe, is a diamond-shaped green – with, around it, two pitched-roofed terraces.
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Old April 30th, 2015, 02:26 PM   #3
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Coricancha, the Incas' temple of the sun

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Believed to have been built around 1200 AD, the temple was constructed using the distinctive and intricate masonry style of the Incas. Early Spanish historian Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa praised this style in his 1572 book History of the Incas: “Those of us who have seen it … are awed upon seeing the evenness and beauty of it.”

The location of Coricancha within the city was very important. Placed at the convergence of the four main highways and connected to the four districts of the empire, the temple cemented the symbolic importance of religion, uniting the divergent cultural practices that were observed in the vast territory controlled by the Incas.

As well as housing more than 4,000 priests, the positioning of the temple in relation to the nearby Andes mountains meant that Coricancha functioned as an enormous calendar. Shadows cast by stones placed on the foothills could be seen from the temple, marking out the solstice and equinoxes observed by the Incan empire.

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Old April 30th, 2015, 02:33 PM   #4
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Pruitt-Igoe: the troubled high-rise that came to define urban America

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If you propose a high-rise public housing project in America, your opponents will almost certainly use Pruitt-Igoe as a rhetorical weapon against you – and defeat you with it.

Even before the dust settled from the infamous, widely televised 1972 implosion of one of Pruitt-Igoe’s buildings (the last of which wouldn’t fall until 1976), the argument that the design had doomed it gained serious traction. Architectural historian Charles Jencks cites that much-seen dynamiting as the moment “modern architecture died”.

Commissioned to design a public housing project federally financed under the Housing Act of 1949, the Japanese-American architect at first came up with a mixed-rise cluster of buildings. Objecting to the price of his plan, the Public Housing Administration insisted on a cost-saving uniform tower height of 11 storeys.

The design, drawn up when Missouri law still mandated the segregation of public facilities, originally designated the Pruitt half of the complex (named after second world war fighter pilot Wendell O Pruitt) for black residents only, and the Igoe half (after former US Congressman William L Igoe) as white only.

But then came sweeping desegregation following the US supreme court’s 1954 Brown vs Board of Education verdict. In the aftermath, fearful white residents took flight, and the whole of Pruitt-Igoe became an exclusively black dwelling – with many black residents also decamping for the periphery, reducing Pruitt-Igoe’s tenant pool to those who simply couldn’t live anywhere else.



Even today, when our eyes have supposedly grown accustomed to all manner of developments meant to shock us with their sheer incongruity, aerial photographs of the Pruitt-Igoe complex give you pause. There it stands, like a poor man’s Ville Radieuse, on 23 freshly cleared hectares of St Louis’s existing urban fabric, looking utterly alien to the miles of low-rise 19th and early 20th-century brick structures surrounding it
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Old March 10th, 2017, 03:22 PM   #5
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Awesome! Thank you for sharing!
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