Notebook of New York (y VII) | Antonio S. Río Vázquez

Come from…

David Mazzucchelli y Paul Karasic, detalle de Ciudad de Cristal (2005)

Last day of the trip coincided with the visit to the Museum of the City, a building near the Guggenheim projected in 1932 by Joseph H. Freedlander with an neocolonial architecture neocolonial so different from the concebida for Wright in the first half of century.

There, like a magnificent closing of the voyage, there was showing himself the sample The Greatest Grid. The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011 commemorating the centenary of the urban project that turned New York into the «city without center»,, since the writer James Traub remembers in one of the texts of the exhibition:

«Manhattan does not have center. The old European cities yes, and have be following the signs that indicate ” I centre city “. There probably he will find a wide space, serenely and pedestrian, often presided by a former cathedral and the town hall. If you ask a New Yorker him about the “downtown”, it will remain disconcerted and it might send him, at best, to Swindle Square or Columbus Circle, which are simply nodes viarios that the citizens cross. It is something for that we can be grateful to the town planners of Manhattan, though probably we should not do it: Paris is charming, Vienna is charming, enclosed Washington A.D. it is charming. Manhattan it is not.»

With abundant documentary resources – and an explanatory specially elegant assembly, moving the urban mesh to the scale of the furniture – analyzes the step from the two-dimensional original city up to the contemporary one, attending specially to the determining topographic ones, the distribution of the property and the treatment of the public space, fundamental aspects of any city that in New York reach a typical meaning.

There are discovered also other secret, invisible meshes in the first look: The public transport, the networks of electricity, supply and reparation, the galleries between streets … and the usefulness that he supposes for the navigation for the city, appearing indicate that they mark a ” plot ghost ” in those theoretical crossings occupied by a park, by big apples or another type of alterations, so much above like below the level zero.

The great plot turns this way into the key to understand an ecosystem as complex as the city of New York. Not only it has served to do of the geography geometry, since we remember on having initiated this notebook, if not to measure the city to human scale: from the distance of a walk up to the degree of occupation in the third dimension… As Edward Glaeser:

«Puede que para un urbanista no sea el ideal de belleza pero, como máquina para vivir, la malla es perfecta».

antonio s. río vázquez . arquitecto
Author of the blog, El tiempo del lobo
a coruña. october 2012

Antonio S. Río Vázquez (A Coruña, 1981) es arquitecto por la E.T.S.A. de A Coruña, master en Urbanismo y doctor por la Universidade da Coruña. Especializado en teoría y diseño, su línea de trabajo se ha centrado en la investigación y divulgación del patrimonio arquitectónico moderno. Ha desarrollado proyectos de modo independiente y ha colaborado con varios estudios de arquitectura. Es socio fundador de Aroe Arquitectura. Es profesor en el Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, Urbanismo y Composición de la Universidade da Coruña, y ha sido profesor invitado en la Robert Gordon University de Aberdeen (Reino Unido), en la Universidade do Minho (Portugal) y en la Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italia). Es miembro de la red UEDXX Urbanism of European Dictatorships during the XXth Century, del Grupo de Investigación en Historia de la Arquitectura IALA y del Grupo de Innovación Educativa en Historia de la Arquitectura. Ha formado parte del proyecto de investigación FAME Fotografía y Arquitectura Moderna en España, 1925-1965. Los resultados de sus investigaciones, tanto personales como conjuntas, han servido como aportación a eventos de debate y difusión científica y han sido publicados en libros y revistas.

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