Friday, July 31, 2009

Urban Design: Intersection

In 2003 Bibb County (Macon, Georgia) and the county's road program managers Moreland Atobelli Associates asked me to develop a design for the intersection adjacent to the courthouse. The intersection is a busy one, with typically heavy traffic of autos and pedestrians. Its functions are affected by turnaround lanes in the median of one of its streets, which allow cars to circle for on-street parking in a given block without having to go through the intersection.

Functionally I saw no reason to change the main intersection, other than reducing the distance pedestrians were "unprotected" between curbs when crossing the street. This was just the expedient of encroaching into the street paving by pushing curbs out into the intersection at the corners, into the dead space aligned with parking spaces.

Aesthetically, I made several recommendations. One was replacing highway-looking islands crossing Mulberry Street with brick crosswalks, placing trees and other plant material beside the crosswalks to separate autos from pedestrians. Places to sit in the median were suggested, along with replacement of "cobra-head" lighting with the Macon's typical historic district streetlamps. Related to the intersection but not at the intersection, I recommended shifting from two-way to one-way traffic of the nearest block of Cotton Avenue, the diagonal steet, consisent with the direction of its one-way movement in the next block. This would allow enlargment of a small park and relocation of its Civil War statue to align with the street centerline.

An important consideration any time something like this project is done, I think, lies in recognizing the inherent charm of a historic downtown, and finding appropriate hardware, paving and plant material that doesn't clash with the architectural context. This doesn't mean modern images should or shouldn't be employed, but care in choosing materials that reinforce rather than diminish the sense of the place is a goal. An example is in hardware such as bollards, streetlamps, signage. If metal for these objects is black, it visually recedes into the plant material and its form becomes less pronounced.

Suggested relocation of statue. The idea in moving the statue to the right from its existing location is to enlarge the landscaped space at the statue, putting it on the center axis of the street. This would result from the larger, functional intent of converting the street to one-way operation. This was deemed out of budget and wasn't carried out.

View down Second Street. (Statue discussed above is visible right of center.) Trees and ground cover are effective in separating the crosswalk from auto traffic.

Grand Opera House entrance. (Courthouse is immediately to the right.) Previous 12-inch high curb was eliminated, with wheelchair access continuous along the dropoff in front of the entrance.

View up Second Street. Courthouse at left.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Urban Design: Alleys

I've always found the alleys in Macon's downtown to be interesting. There are two basic widths,10 feet where perpendicular to main streets, and from 16 to 20 feet where parallel to those streets.
As in most cities' downtowns, building depths vary, but tend to have used the full depth of the lot. This produces sharp definition of the alley space, with the exceptions, buildings that are set back from the alley line, offering spatial rhythm and variation.

Several years ago Newtown Macon asked me to investigate potential uses for a large former department store. In the course of measuring and assessing the building's condition, I was struck by what had evolved into large amounts of underused, functionally obsolete space. "Evolved," because until the 1960's very brisk retail trade occurred downtown, and the space was fully utilized. With suburban mall construction, downtown's big-box retail structures were left much deeper than needed. Macon's downtown block is typically about 400 to 440 feet square. This leaves roughly 200 feet of building depth from streetfront to alley.

In architecture school, I'd had a design project that examined the conversion of alleys to storefront. It occurred to me that the situation presented by Macon offered significant potential in a similar conversion. Also, Macon already had three restaurants with alley entrances in another downtown block.

If walkable, landscaped alleyways were converted to storefront, with fresh espresso wafting on the breeze from a sidewalk trattoria, limited but colorful signage, shopwindows introduced into existing blank brick walls ...

400 Block Cherry Street, Macon. (North is up on the plan.)

Original study was of yellow area, two former department stores. Orange area at lower left is a 19th-century warehouse, a massive 4-story brick building proposed for use as condos by a local developer. The blue area at upper right is an existing 200-space parking deck. A 300-space multi-level parking garage, if built on the gray area to its left (at the time of the study a 90-space parking lot) would provide the required 500 off-street parking spaces for all proposed development of the alleys and the block, and secure access to the proposed condos.
An open loggia cut into the building indicated as the plan's yellow space, along the alley. View is facing south.

Facing west. This sketch indicates no change to the existing 90-space parking lot other than reducing its size by 24 feet to allow a tree-shaded hardscape area at the center of the block. 19th-century four-story building at left is the proposed condo development. Shaded hardscape is shown adjacent to the existing parking lot, with retail and food service at the existing rear of the buildings.

Same general viewpoint as previous sketch, elevated to illustrate 300-space parking building placed over existing 90-space parking lot. Food services and store entrances surround the hardscape area and continue up all alleys.

So, I set about convincing Newtown that this could work. Today, the results are still indeterminate, but the purpose of this narrative lies in the design intent.

Please note that drawings shown in this post are my own. They are copyrighted and may not be used or reproduced without documented permission.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Urban Design: Macon

Cherry Street

Cherry Street

Cherry Street.
(My office happens to be in the building at right.)

Mulberry Street

Since the 1950's, urban design in Macon, Georgia has followed a path not unlike that of many US cities. Early efforts at nurture of its downtown area were based in the planning and zoning department and its active historic preservation groups. The two main preservation organizations recently consolidated as the Historic Macon Foundation. While quite multifaceted, virtually all urban design work in Macon has been closely coordinated with the city's historic preservation effort.

The formation of Newtown Macon in 1996 represented a significant step for serious and sustained effort toward urban design. Initially funded by the Peyton Anderson Foundation, Newtown initiated a sustained and successful effort to raise public and private funds beyond the foundation's for projects and its own existence. With its location near downtown, Mercer University has become another significant player in the nurture of the intown areas. Newtown's first chairman was Mercer president Kirby Godsey.

Through Newtown, various studies and conceptual designs have been undertaken within the overall agenda of revitalizing downtown and its more immediate ancillary places. In addition to its work that falls literally inside the bounds of the central business district, Newtown's focus has been the creation of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, a system of paved walking/jogging paths, almost 10 miles to date, adjacent to downtown along the Ocmulgee River. This has probably been the largest single effort of the organization, in clear recognition that downtown can often be nurtured by influences beyond its immediate borders.

A little background on the city:
Macon was an ancient Native-American (Creek) center, a riverboat town, then a railroad town. Since the decline of railroads in the 1950's, it's been somewhat more low-keyed and of necessity economically diverse.

The Creek Nation had been headquarted in the place later called Macon, with its beginnings as far back as 8,000 bc. The Ocmulgee National Monument is administered and maintained by the National Park Service in recognition of the ancient presence of man in this location. Thomas Jefferson commissioned Benjamin Hawkins to set up a presence in the area toward negotiating permission from the Creeks for constructing a road from Washington, DC to New Orleans. The fort he constructed was later named Fort Hawkins, and restored during the 1930's.

A vestige of the road commissioned by president Jefferson remains, I think, in downtown. It's Cotton Avenue, the only diagonal street set inside the 1820's grid of streets and boulevards. It was likely named for being the route of cotton delivery from the surrounding area to wharves at the river, and as part of the ancient Creek footpath on which much of the road was built.

Cotton Avenue, early 1900's.

Macon is at the foot of the Piedmont Range, and is typically 300 to 400 feet above sea level, gradually falling to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 85 miles to the north, Atlanta is 2,500 feet above the sea. The Ocumulgee River head is near Atlanta, and the water courses rapidly until it reaches Macon, where it suddenly stops rushing and meanders over the level land to a point near Savannah, where it merges with the Savannah River into the Altamaha. This matters, because it was as far inland as the Ocmulgee could be reasonably navigated by boat. This fact, along with fertile farmland in the area, drew the Creek Nation, then the European settlers who followed.

The city luckily didn't fit into Gen. Sherman's schedule for his March to the Sea. A part of his army actually camped across the river from Macon and heaved one cannonball into the city, but the move toward Macon was a feint intended to draw southern forces there, presumably away from the intended path to Savannah.

Macon didn't have much of an economic bounce in the years immediately following WWII. It did have a long-term benefit from the war, though, in the addition of Robins Air Force Base in nearby Warner Robins. Without the regional effects of this base, Macon would have been much less able to thrive over the period since the war. A city with a number of similarities to Macon is Altoona, Pennsylvania. (Anyone familiar with Macon would likely be interested in the similarities to Altoona found in the website for Tom Lynam Photography.) It was also a railroad town, and its downtown is quite similar to Macon's. Its population was similar to Macon's, as well, until around 1950. Being a railroad town was a temporary economic boon. After rail's decline, Altoona didn't have the good fortune of, for one thing, a huge Air Force base in the next county, and its population is now about half of Macon's.

Back to the point about the years immediately following the war: Macon's absence of aggressive economic progress during that period left intact a substantial collection of 19th-century buildings in its downtown and nearest neighborhoods. Big metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Charlotte or Dallas, with development pressure and skyrocketing land values, engaged in wholesale demolition of structures that stood in the way of what was at the time considered progress. It was valid progress of a kind, but it did have the side effect of destroying a lot more architectural and urban history than it preserved.

Macon's has remained a working downtown, an isn't a tourist mecca on the order of Charleston or Savannah. Tourism has certainly increased there over the years, with its historic charm supplemented with a well-known musical heritage in the persons of Little Richard, Otis Redding, the Alman Brothers and others. "Others" would include Lena Horne (born in NYC, she spent much of her childhood in Atlanta, Macon and Fort Valley,) a steady stream of performers like Ray Charles at the Douglass Theater and a current field of active musicians that includes Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell.

Poplar Street

Poplar Street

Friday, July 17, 2009

Urban Design: Yin and Yang

One of the striking and completely vital elements of New York's urban landscape is the interrelationship between Cental Park and its surrounding city. Completely necessary to the quality of the city's life, this park's natural amenities are half of a yin and yang with the city's often gritty and hard-edged imagery. The drama of each is more sharply defined by its proximity to the other. This is true of a number of parks around the city, but Central Park's particular quality and its scale makes for a unique and compelling lesson in urban design.

The area of the Model Boat Pond, or Conservatory Water, and Kerbs Boat House are a valued part of Central Park. The history of Central Park shows a sustained civic act of will. It was also the result of a rare talent in Frederick Olmstead. His determined effort to instill the park with its spirit of the woods against sometimes bureaucratic fussiness from park commissioners and others was probably as essential a part of the outcome as his talent. Minutes for an 1894 meeting of park commissioners give a flavor of the testy relationships around the table during design and construction of the park.

Fifth Avenue at an entrance to Central Park

Path into the park.

Model Boat Pond and Kerbs Boat House

Inside Kerbs Boat House.

Sailboat. Some are radio-controlled, others wind-powered.

The Boat Pond's killer Yorkies.

Killer Yorkies retire for the day.

The preceding photos in this post are my own. You're welcome to use them as long as you give me credit, by noting with the photo.

A striking photo of the way Central Park's natural landscape is placed against its massively developed surroundings. Photo by David Shankbone. A high resolution copy is here. An informative wiki article on the park and several exceptional photos are here.

Urban Design: Parting Shots, New York

No particular comments added, just pictures that may sum up some important aspects of the city.

From the Brooklyn Promenade

Taxis head for Met Life

East Village attitude

Shopping, East Village

Arquitectonica's Westin off Times Square

The photos in this post are my own. You're welcome to use them as long as you give me credit, by noting with the photo.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Urban Design: New York City 2

Manhattan across the East River, from the Brooklyn Promenade

The previous post on NYC focused on urban design in Manhattan. This one is about parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the only boroughs I've visited.

The dense physical complexity of Manhattan makes every aspect of its services unique. It's too densely populated for cars to come and go freely. Anything sold has to be delivered to its point of sale, so a lot of trucking and rail access is necessary, and is highly controlled for the same reasons. In much of Manhattan private cars other than taxis are basically not permitted at all. Construction in this environment has its own parameters, requiring ingenuity and in many ways more costs than would be incurred in other cities. Space is precious. The fact that this place is so livable is a testament to trial and error, and of some intelligent design to offset much of the blight that goes with any city.

Given the reliance on walking and using buses, trains and taxis, shopping is quite different from suburbs. Markets abound, with fresh produce within walking distance of home or a subway stop. A lady told me "New Yorkers tend to live a long time. We walk a lot. Fast. (At that point she smiled.) We eat healthy food, buying fresh vegetables in our markets. And, we talk a lot."

Grand Central Market

Project for Public Spaces often recommends markets of almost any description as a catalyst for downtown/intown revitalization. New York has everything from upscale Grand Central Market to street vendors, ( that link shows several street vendors ) and all kinds of markets in between, weekly or bi-weekly street markets and sophisticated operations under roof. A terrific outdoor market is one of the Greenmarket locations, at Union Square. Two of the most interesting under-roof markets are Chelsea Market, located in the old National Biscuit Company site, and Essex Street Market, which has always been a contiguous group of markets under roof.

Above, below, Greenmarket at Union Square

These Manhattan markets do add to the vitality of the city, and they work well because of the substantial customer base that surrounds them.

Above, below, Chelsea Market

Across the East River in Brooklyn, Montague Street looks and feels much like a central business district in a much smaller town, actually a lot like my home of Macon, Georgia. Montague Street's Business Improvement District has evidently been effective. In general, in a Business Improvement District, businesses within the district are assessed additional taxes or fees to pay for additional services such as security, cleanup, landscape, lighting, etc. It's well populated with residents and visitors most evenings of the week. A part of the photogenic Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, Montague Street ends at the Brooklyn Promenade, with its spectacular views of the East River and Manhattan.

Montague Street is a great example of, among other things, a Main Street Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which draws together community and other resources, design professionals and business stakeholders in the target locations to plan and implement initiatives to enable a street or district to survive and prosper. Commercial, institutional and residential property all within a Main Street program are part of the mix that produces vibrant and livable historic cores for their communities.

Montague Street

The photos in this post are my own unless otherwise noted. You're welcome to use them as long as you give me credit, by noting with the photo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Urban Design

Like everything else, architecture happens within a context. It can obviously vary a lot, but in general three or four basic contexts contain probably 99% of the earth's buildings. Urban. Suburban. Rural. Coastal, which is a particular case of any of the other three, but with enough distinct issues that it's logical to make it a fourth context.

Most people live in cities. The practical and quality-of-life problems and potentials of urban contexts make for an absorbing aspect of architecture. Although anything is fair game for discourse in a web log, the focus of this one, where cites are concerned, is primarily quality of life. That is, the public spaces between (and sometimes within) buildings and the way people live - the interaction between people and those buildings and spaces.

Urban design.

In Louis Kahn's served/service model, services are transportation, food, retail, storage and utilities. Offices, schools, parks and dwellings are the main 'served' places. Less fundamental places can be 'served,' like a passenger terminal for trains and planes, while being part of transportation, which is a 'serving' function in a broader sense. "Food" also has its served and service functions, with the acquisition, preparation and delivery being "service," and consumption being "served." (I don't want to make a huge issue of the served/service distinction, but it's always a useful way to put something in a context.)

Naturally, those who design for urban quality of life make a practice of studying, and simply noticing, all kinds of things that affect the quality of the way we live in a particular place. I think a lot can be learned by just noticing the way people move about between places. Besides real-life observation and academic/professional study, the basics of ones day can even be observed as it's played out in the course of a few minutes in a movie, with factors that support or diminish quality of life on display in each bit of the characters' day. Any particular thing that adds to ones grasp of this rather broad and challenging discipline of urban design can be considered a useful part of the tools one brings to its tasks.

Besides urban designers, anyone can expand their understanding and appreciation for the urban world around them by gaining a walking-around knowledge of the subject of urban design. The wiki link for urban design has an excellent overview of the subject. In particular, I think these books offer a concise and informative look at not just the "words," but also the "music" of the subject:

UC, Berkeley has a wonderful web page with one of the most remarkable drawings I've seen, Giambattista Nolli's Map of Rome. Each section of the map is clickable, and it's the only presentation of this map I've found that doesn't try to make money from it.

A remarkable thing about this map of Rome is the way it differentiates between public and private space - treating the publicly accessible space within buildings in the same way as the public space between buildings.

Here is a small section. Click to zoom:

Urban Design: New York City 1

NYC Subway - joseph o. holmes/

Discussing New York City in the context of urban design could occupy several lifetimes, and can be said to have done so over the years in the work of a number of people. It won't be covered here in one post. Two or three will have to do for a beginning, and others may eventually follow.

For whatever reason, I'd not been to New York until a few years ago. Like most people, I felt a vaguely wary affection for at least the idea of the place. So, when the chance came to pay a visit because a necessary seminar was being held there, I mused about it a little. The musing took the form of taking stock of the various preconceptions formed by years of impressions from movies and books, uncertain and quite curious which ones would and wouldn't prove true.

The ideas I had of the place were, I'd be interested to see the major buildings, indoor and outdoor spaces, a few restaurants. I had no interest in Central Park. Nice but boring was the impression. Battery Park, maybe. Fifth Avenue, for sure. Boroughs other than Manhattan? No. There was this vague suspicion that the pressures of so many years of overcrowding and pollution would have worn the city down to a tired and cynical ennui.

The seminar I was attending focused on public markets, hosted by the Project for Public Spaces in early May. So, with the seminar lasting three days and a day each at the front and back end of the trip for uninterrupted exploration, I hoped to have good weather and a fairly clear, if limited, impression of what the city was actually like.

As anyone familiar with the place would know, any low expectations were quickly blown away by the city of New York, as were most of the specific preconceptions I'd brought along. The restaurants were excellent ( Queen in Brooklyn, The Oyster Bar and Campbell's Apartment Bar, both in Grand Central Terminal were high points,) the people were quick to respond to friendliness with friendliness of their own, and some of the strongest impressions were from completely unexpected sources.
In fact, the strongest impression I took away was the New Yorkers, themselves. Every one of them coming down the street is a genuine character, accustomed to playing out life on a big stage, highly aware in all their senses and possessed of decency that completely caught me off guard. Plenty of exceptions to that glowing impression are certain to exist, but that was the impression, and one I'm glad to go with.

Another surprise was Central Park. I'd seen innumerable images of the park over the years, but the experience of walking through Olmstead's landscape, with the massive yet intricate presence of built-up high-rise structures around it, is delightful. The area of the Boat Pond is, I think, likely the most exquisite urban landscape in the world.

The Boat Pond, Central Park

Still another was the subway. For whatever reason, this struck me as the soul of the city. It's not a scenic attraction, its trademark grittiness is well known. But, it's where all the people of the place converge, rather tightly as peak hours, and the behavior of the people I encountered there was civilized to a fault. (It may be that there really aren't many options to politeness in such a place - live and let live seems to be alive and well there.) Having characterized the subway as the soul of this city, there are luckily gifted photographers who explore that soul in the subways and everywhere else. Chief among them, in my opinion, are Joseph O. Holmes, whose photography is published online at and Brian Dube, at

Bryant Park
American Radiator Building and
Empire State Building from Bryant Park

Of all the places, Bryant Park probably works as well and as effortlessly as any part of the city to elevate the experience of living there. On a number of levels, it just works. As an urban space, it's pleasantly stunning. The elegant, simple rectangular lawn, surrounded on four sides by ethereal London Plane trees, is a dramatic foil for the vast surrounding array of skyscrapers just beyond the trees.

Bryant Park

The sense of scale is intriguing as you move about the park. An intimate sense of enclosure is afforded next to the Library, under the trees, and while walking in the shaded areas elsewhere around the perimeter. On the other hand, looking from the northwest corner back toward the Library, the vastness of the space defined by the huge, intricately surfaced buildings is memorable. The folding chairs scattered around the park (3,500 of them) are essential to making the place work. How would anyone be able to enjoy this place if they couldn't sit, and how would fixed benches in this context compare to being able to arrange your seating?

Salmon Tower and Bryant Park

Bryant Park represents one of the most densely layered examples of a successful urban space. It quite literally has it all: Completely convenient, immediate access by foot, car (taxi, anyway) and subway, then ease of movement about the site. Distinguished architecture on all sides. Security. Landscaping. Food services. Wiring and other infrastructure for almost any kind of event setup. Comfortable, conversational seating. Also, it's a magnificent sight from above, a gift to all the window views of the tall buildings around it.
So, the "tired and cynical ennui" I'd suspected to find wasn't evident. The best minds of several generations have collaborated and fought over urban design issues in this city, and their accomplishments in urban design are probably unexcelled. The blend of grit and paradise that's to be found there leaves an indelible impression.

The photos in this post are my own unless otherwise noted. You're welcome to use them as long as you give me credit, by noting with the photo.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Italian Guys

Architecture has held a higher profile in Italy than probably any country. Italy has been producing architects for at least a couple of thousand years. Bookending this post, Filippo Brunelleschi and Renzo Piano.

Brunelleschi was an early Renaissance influence. He actually invented the art of linear perspective, in the early 15th century, designed extensively in Florence, including the signature Duomo of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. The commision for the Duomo was awarded to the winner of a competition - no one had previously been able to figure out how to construct the dome for its intended location at its intended size. He was considered a structural and mathmatical genius.

Duomo, Florence

Andrea Palladio started as a stonecutter. He learned the craft of building from literally the ground up. It's been about 500 years, and it's highly unlikely anyone has come along since with a better or surer gift for proportion. More about that later. He designed buildings at a time that an architect would for better or worse be a kind of dilettante, typically a wealthy individual who had studied the classics and used the means afforded by wealth to determine how a work of architecture would be carried out. Palladio was given his start by a patron, Gian Giorgio Trissino, and the rest is history.

In design, proportion is more an art than a science. Proportions can be analyzed mathematically, and can be quite consciously designed within mathematical parameters. On the other hand, to reach the level of executing exquisite proportion, to truly cast an arrangement of elements in the way of Palladio, seamlessly analogous to a symphonic composition by Mozart, is far beyond metrics. Even to consciously understand proportional composition in a way that can be described as analytical requires a level of study and perceptiveness that can be rightly called a fine art. Those who choose elements and cast proportions in ways that are recognizably so perfect as to stir the soul are exceedingly rare and remarkable.

Above, Villa Rotonda, Vicenza. Palladio.

Above, Basilica, Vicenza. Palladio

Palladio worked in what seems a decidedly hybrid process. He studied proportion, and devised his own knowledge and preferences in ways that he clearly described as straightforward mathmatical arrangements. In general terms, these parameters governed the actual sizes of elements of construction in his buildings.

Palladio wasn't overly intellectual, I think, in his design approach, and didn't even employ highly elaborate drawings to test and refine his design. In other words, he would envision the three-dimensional implications of each element, a wall and its openings, a column, a pediment by means of memory and intuition, along with whatever mockup or other tools of refinement were at hand. Intuition. This was the means by which his composition took flight, casting a kind of magic in the arrangement of form, space and the materials of their definition. It is essentially this same intuition that is shared by all who have an exceptional gift of proportion.
Recommended, a beautiful and accessible series of essays on ten villas of Palladio, Withold Rybczynski's The Perfect House.

Pope Pius II decided to attempt a definitive expression of the Renaissance in his home town of Pienza. Photos of Pienza show a charming hill town similar to many, except the church center buildings and square designed by Bernado Rossellino. The remarkable piazza in front of the church is carefully laid out as a trapezoid rather than a rectangle, in the manner of a stage set. The piazza paving pattern is completely rectilinear, visually underscoring the trapezoidal shape.

About a hundred years after the palazzo at Pirenza was completed, Michelangelo employed the same trapezoidal spatial scheme for the Campodoglio in Rome.

Romaldo Giurgola is a highly accomplished American architect who immigrated from Italy in the 1950's. He shared many beliefs and approaches of Louis Khan and, I think, Aalto. His buildings eschewed the Miesian approach to design, which Giurgola called "imposition of abstract" form.
His best-known project is the Federal Parliament in Australia, but the overall body of his work, particularly projects without such requirements of monumental imagery, show a thoughtful and original approach to design.
Like Palladio, Renzo Piano learned about building with a common-sense backbone underlying the evolution and refinement of his work as an architect. His father was a general contractor, and he has the advantage of acquiring early on a viewpoint in design that respected and understood the nature of the trades and materials that go into construction of a specific design. His buildings employ a range of imagery, appropriately varying with program requirement and location, high tech often blended with natural wood and lighting.
In an Architectural Record interview, Piano explained his design approach. "I came to architecture as the son of a builder, so when I was a young architect I was devoted to developing objects. I was attracted to the physicality. The piece-by-piece approach was essential to me. Then I began to understand that this is not enough. Architecture is more than just putting things together. It’s about the organic, about illusions, a sense of memory, and a textural approach. I must admit, though, that I still love the idea of putting parts together. That is why my office is called the Building Workshop. I love the idea that you go from the general to the detail and then from the detail to the general. It’s a double process. You cannot think about the presence of the building in the city without thinking about materiality. And when you think about materiality, you start to think about detail."

Below, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Renzo Piano