For each title, replace -X- with the name of your city or the district of the city you are going
to use as a case-study.! !
1. The Image of -X-: Drawing on Kevin Lynch’s work The Image of the City, consider
the navigability of your city by using his methodology. By differentiating landmarks,
districts, nodes, and paths, Lynch abstracted the city into manageable elements that
related to our everyday experience of getting about. Look at the way different
districts manifest themselves and provide a series of maps using his mental mapping
2. The Townscape of -X-: Gordon Cullen focused on the way small towns appeared as
sequences of spaces. Largely visual, Cullen’s methodology involves long sequences
of analytical serial perspectives, with an agenda for setting right the damage done to
towns in the UK by Modernist planning principles. By producing such a set of
drawings, how are they to be assessed? In what way can a set of drawings produce
a critique of a town?!
3. Delirious -X-: OMA and Rem Koolhaas are as famous for their production of
architectural theory as built works. In this work, Koolhaas indulges and revels in a
city which had, in its recent history, been regarded only as a problem. Koolhaas
seeks to understand the city through its most extreme manifestations, and develops a
critique of function and programme. In looking at examples such as Coney Island
and the Downtown Athletics Club, Koolhaas sees these places as demonstrative of
the character of the city.!
4. The Death and Life of -X-: In valorising Greenwich Village in New York, Jane
Jacobs’ 1961 book, The Death and Life of the Great American Cities is an
acknowledged classic. The work advocates grass-roots activism and communities
over the postwar Modernist drive towards functionally zoned cities. This essay should focus on the vibrancy of community through Jacobs’ critique of overly economic and rational approaches.!
5. Learning From -X-: The research of Venturi, Scott-Brown and Rauch compiled in
this volume contributed to a rise in the linguistic analogy in architecture:
understanding buildings as signs was a critique borne out of the manner in which Las
Vegas reduced buildings to two types: Decorated Sheds and Ducks. The greatest
concentration of this is the Las Vegas strip, with neon and kitsch reproductions of
other places with a theme-park mentality. In what way can your city be read as a
sign, or what maligned quality of the city might you begin to understand as a positive
or more complex situation than originally intended.!
6. -X-ness in Architecture: This text by Arata Isozaki is a good example of a historical
text which seeks to define a style for a particular region. In Japan-ness in
Architecture, Isozaki takes this on in a number of ways, through close analysis of
historical examples such as the Ise Shrine and the Katsura Palace. He then takes
this up to date, showing the manner in which the high modernism of contemporary
Japan maintains much of this character, or where it might be needed. Using this text,
consider what is unique about the style of your chosen city, how such styles emerged
and why such critical regionalism is needed today.!
7. Four Ecologies of -X-: Reyner Banham’s text on the idea of the ecology of the city is
instructive in that it approaches the idea of the ecosystem from a completely different
point of view, analysing Los Angeles in terms of its deep structures and associated
topography: Surfurbia, Foothills, Plains of Id, Autopia. What are the equivalent
ecologies for your chosen city and how do they characterise it? You might then
choose to develop one ecology as a description, or discuss more than one as
appropriate. Keep the ecological idea in mind: a system of life related to that city, be
that recreational, psychological, physical and formal, or biological.!
8. Restructuring the Ecology of -X-: Gregory Bateson is a founding figure in the
study of ecology. In this short paper, Bateson develops an idea of a city requiring a
budget of flexibility, noting that this is the key quality in a successful city/ecosystem.
Bateson was a critical thinker, and developed an idea of the ‘ecology of mind’ in
which he challenged many of the ingrained ways of thinking academically,
encouraging a similar flexibility in our own continued practices of learning. What is
the learning and adaptable city, and how does your chosen city exhibit these
9. Pattern Language of -X-: In identifying patterns for architecture, Christopher
Alexander and his team of researchers sought to produce a series of established
possibilities and valuable norms for architectural design – with the intention of
handing the process back to the general populace and away from the profession.
One approach to this book is to see the pattern-building process itself as valuable,
identifying the patterns present in your chosen city. The other is to look for the adhoc
and unofficial city: the building elements constructed by people anyway, often
added in pragmatic ways and without the interaction of the profession.!
10. -X- as Collage City: Architectural theorists Colin Rowe & Fred Koetter champion the
way in which cities are not static, unchanging constructs: but rather constantly
evolving and additive processes. The most successful cities to Rowe were the ones
Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.[order_calculator]