07 November 2008


I had a post a few months ago about a new town Brandevoort. A similar planned traditional town Poundbury, by the same architect, Leon Krier was recently subject of a surprisingly positive article. Portions excerpted below touch on some of the issues, from traffic to the influence codes have on our everyday life:

...Poundbury was meant to be boring, as any urgent expedient for solving a world crisis in housing, building skills and natural resources needs to be.

...cars behave themselves, moving slowly in the virtual absence of signage; this is a small battle won against the traffic engineers...

People ...seem happy to live ... at relatively high densities, and are quick to defend mixed-income (housing).

...Poundbury has become the successful model for suburban development...for much of the south of England. And as one successful Poundbury builder told me: “We like it better, too. We can build a house for 10% more and sell it for 30% more.”

... the (building and zoning) codes do seem to have made bad architecture a bit less casually easy.

... what seems more interesting is the question the project raises about the real limits of the architect as auteur of social change.

...younger (architects) are at last producing housing ...that convince by their studied ordinariness and ...reticence of their designers. ...They ... rely on an understanding of space as a resource to be consumed frugally.


Radarman said...

I've seen Poundbury and like it a lot, but like Mariemont, the house prices are out of reach for beginners. Or intermediates.

CityKin said...

I think that problem could be solved, but realistically suburban development is super-segregated, by price that any variety is an improvement. Alternatively the poor in public housing are often the victim of avantgard modernism. See for example some proposals for new housing in New Orleans.

For a counterpoint to Mariemont, see Greenhills which is still affordable.

To me these places are interesting abberations, kinda experiments to see what is possible for people who want a better, more integrated and walkable but still suburban life. Although some of the design stuff could be transferred, most of it is not relevant to big cities.