thumbnail of Pantechnicon; The City as a Client
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Ben technic on. The city as a client is the subject for this week's pantechnicon. We apologize for a certain amount of table banging but as this is an informal discussion we hope it will not interfere with your enjoyment of the program. The panelists are architects Philip Johnson Robert venturi Charles Moore Robert Stern and John Cota Kauto and the moderator Vincent Scully one of the country's leading architects and critics Philip Johnson opens the discussion. Modern architecture came about really with the country house rep Matilda that I always
talk about that every student has to begin with. They still have to begin with it you have to see Bob Stern Show in New York 40 under 40. You realize that you've got to start with the little houses the little individual things. But now what's happened now that our whole this to his change and they've pulled me along with it. And that is we are no longer interested in the individual house. You are no longer interested in the individual building. There's a higher role for us to come and that is the total environment. And then the boys here that organized this are absolutely right to leave out all planners all plumbers all highway engineers all sewage experts and ecologist as far as I'm concerned there is none. There's not an ecologist or US traffic planner that has any idea of the city as I see it. The city is a form just like any other. It's a little harder to design than a building but it's not perhaps as hard to design as a chair.
Public Square is without doubt the most difficult architectural problem in the world and around the square or the way the processional around that determines whether our city our civilization will get anywhere or not. After all civilisations are remembered and thought of in history only by their buildings. The tale to work on the greatest city that I know of in the world. We don't even know who lived there they certainly didn't know the wheel but they knew architecture and they knew what I would call it for any other word planning because planning merely is the thing under an architects dream and somehow or other they and hardly anybody in our culture has ever been able to make an urban space or a space where people walk up and down. So they say I am in this place the sense of place as a as a fundamental of design has completely disappeared in the 20th century. I personally am completely hopeless about it. The younger generation fortune is not. I think that the political thing is so rigged against us. I think the lack of interest of any of our politicians is so profound. There's no
baksheesh to be gained from a good city plan in fact it's going to cost us thank God our dear friend the only man I know of in this business makes any sense as it has said it is time that somebody found out that the Great Society is going to cost a great deal of money and he means a great deal he's not talking about millions he's talking about big and I mean not not in the single billions but in the tens of billions of dollars. And until somebody says to LBJ or is the fourth successor after this let us build a demonstration for 10 billion dollars. You will not get any city planning we sitting here just whistling in our own beer to mix three metaphors of what's there there isn't any sense in our talking here and I wouldn't come except I know this is the subject and I know you people and I hope some one or two of you will be able to include chip influence the world and if not the rest of you can help in a propensity to change the entire attitude of our culture against what we've had up to now and change it to making a great civilization if you don't if you don't.
If America was to stop existing right now wouldn't we remember the dos and rusty steel skeletons that might be rather handsome yes but. To count on it the way we get down and look at the content they would be totally impossible to put secret there are several ghost cities in the world today where you can see what great cultures have done without even knowing the alphabet in the wheel and what good is it to us what price going to the moon if we can't even make a culture that can be remembered more than a year or two at a time. I'm going to be as negative as the other generation about maybe some other things probably lengthier the city is a complex interlocking of places and activities of a very complex one. The city is Christopher Alexander as is said and written a number of times. Is. Some a lattice and not a tree its relationships are complicated. They're not simple. The only simple cities. Are the cities like Carlos
Roa that were built for a simple purpose to make somebody be in a spot where he was in charge of a number of other people. They responded to one. One need and they take one shape. Now we pretend that a complexity is greatest as the city of today can be sketched on the back of an envelope like Costa did for a Brazilian. And that that's all there is to that you just go build some and it's it's fine. We see it this result of the sketching on the back of an envelope as a sort of single artifact a kind of giant ashtray or worse a scattering of artifacts. I've been dealing lately with them some other people trying to plant a funny little Midwestern city trying myself to see it as a. As a fabric a set of closely interrelated things no one of which
matters. I find that the people the designers against whom I'm going. Are are seeing it as well. It's like dropping cream into coffee and you know what it nice it is you know spreads when these people drop the cream in it curdles and their little splotches a little monuments I take it. They keep saying they're monuments that are spread all over the face of the city based on no no hierarchy of importances except the will of the designer and the. Reputation of the planners or of the mayor. The. Search for distinctive images one for each one of these little blobs
leads to the. This doesn't lead to a separate thing each time the distinctive images don't turn out to be all different from each other. It leads to the same thing happening in city after city. If you've seen a standard civic center of the last three years with the high square building on PLO TV with that with the round building which I believe includes an auditorium next to it and Plaza which if it's designed by the architect is paved and if it's designed by a landscape architect has a box and seek to discover where the one for one town is different from the one for another. You will I'm afraid come up be fuddled. If the buildings are all the same from the looks of the cities before the buildings get there turn out to be all the same to any Midwestern city has now been torn down for urban renewal and looks exactly like all the others which is
exactly like Berlin was the first to look 20 years ago. If cities are people then only much more complex and complete attention to the needs of people as they live and relate to each other in the cities is going to bring a strain of any kind of sense. We got off I think on the wrong foot and one thousand twenty two. If we weren't well on the wrong foot long before that when look obviously postulated his vision of skyscrapers in the park in the park is turned into a parking lot and skyscrapers are too small. But but we have it. In the event of cargo who hated cities and our American Frank Lloyd Wright who made them worse are the city our fading mistress and indeed it's fading fast as to be recognized I guess in time to
war before she kicks off. That task is. An enormous one that does not involve building a lot of little ashtrays for it but involves finding out I think much more than we know already about what the complex it is the problems not the image of the problems is so that that are our solutions won't be simple but will be they can't be complete. But they might become the framework for a pattern of living that can aspire toward some sort of completeness. Thank you my team already. Not that I'm trying to sow dissension between the government but on the one hand there is a must. Let the renaissance of you out of the city as an object in Johnson. I'm sure he
doesn't mean it and I can't thank you and I and if you know the city as it is a complex set of interrelationships perhaps without an overall plan to shake in Mr Moore and I missed an injury. If he'd like to use castor oil or say something about what I like. And I can think best as most architects and concrete terms so I'd like to mention a few sets of examples of what interests me. Trivial in themselves as example which is which I think are lessons which I think are lessons. One example might be the comparison in New Haven of Yorke's of a certain section of York Street and its
another section of Chapel Street on York Street. There is no court college which is you know is a gothic style on the street Saud and the eighteenth century on the court side. There is an obvious contradiction here which is no doubt wrong at one level it is an absurdity to be in a building itself which if you have a suite it probably has a living room on one side with a casement windows and leaded panes and maybe a bedroom on the other side of the same suite with double hung windows. On the other hand there is a large at a larger scale and another focus. There is a reason for this which we I think many of us understand very well now and that which is contradictory to the immediate reason
of the immediate building. There is this urban reason to create unity on the street. I have the Gothic style on one side of the street match the Gothic style of the college on the other side of the street and more and more the building is becoming tiny less hard to take and in fact of course it is intriguing to me and I like it very much. On the other hand Chapel Street you find just the opposite. You do not find that kind of unity and unalloyed snuffs between the two sides of the street. You fawn on between York street and the green you phone the university buildings on one side which have a monumental style certain big rhythm a certain big scale and on the other side you have in great contrast and in one sense and great disunity.
The commercial buildings you have on another level the great contrast between an institutional monument holiday on one side and private enterprise if you want to call it on the other side of town and you have another quality a kind of duality which is really very valid a kind of contradiction at another level. So in the first example you have a kind of idea. Adaption and obvious unity on the other you have a violent juxtaposition and disunity both valid and best qualities which are appropriate. At the city scale and again this contradiction between the immediate and the greater level. Another example would be the comparison of two gas stations which I know of in Philadelphia on City Line Avenue on the north east corner is a gas station but gone by a very prominent
Philadelphia architect as a unique guest station for the Atlantic Refining Company. On the other side is a standard designed gas station for Amoco. And the irony of course is that the latter gas station is better than the former one. The commonplace one is really better in its effect than the other one. Another set of examples could be this is not being specific of any appeal to rooster Moore to mention this idea any current appeal to those in America. There could be for instance an AP in Philadelphia Penn Center there could be the one at Hartford which I haven't seen it could be the one of the Copley Square competition which is just one which I haven't seen but it's been described in the verbal. And we can. And we can find that they are all
disastrous. They are all triumphs of modern architecture. The client's another irony the clients of have hired the right architect. But these don't work as squares. They are a bore. They are unified but they lack vitality. There is the easiest and obvious gestalt unity. But there's no connection really with experience and program there's no connection for several reasons. One is that is is is no doubt obsolete in an American city today. The communal space doesn't make much sense and is really no occasion for a lot of people to come together at one point. There is occasion for individuals to walk through but not for lots of people to come together. There is in some of these too a kind of perverse emphasis on relationships of buildings to others in the Boston competition. The winners undoubtedly relate very
obviously and very respectfully to the great buildings that are already there through the church and the other. But there is a bore I think this idea of obvious relationship might be an eighth crotch of modern architecture. To Philip Johnson's famous one earlier and lastly you can say that. And that the need for open space in most American cities is spurious we're in the habit of thinking that when in reality we have too much open space in the form of parking lots of urban renewal deserts which are not so temporary and then one last example for not talking to long is that of the cloverleaf which is juxtaposed in the middle of a city which there are many examples often juxtaposed right on top of orbit immediately beside small existing buildings very rectangular and
contrast being in their formation to the enormous scale in the big hurry of the cloverleaf and on one level again. This is a disastrous juxtaposition. It is social logically programmatically wrong for someone who owns that house and who lives next to this offensive big scale element. But on another scale it has a certain appeal. It has a certain validity and a certain vitality especially when you compare it to the kind of relationship in New Haven of the expressway where there is this kind of no man's land. And I think there's a kind of irony in seeing that maybe if these combinations of scale were more violent and more close together they would be less difficult and less bad. Paradoxically I think that if they are separated with this kind of no man's land in between this kind of quasi separation that exists
and I will say no more now except us try to give maybe one general as a nation that would come out of this and this is the desire. I think that all of these examples I think indicate the need for a different kind of unity in our cities one that do recognize the complexities and the contradictions one that do not end in involved Prim. dreams of pure order which are really a unobtainable or when they exist they are boring boring ones that really involve the art in a struggle appropriately in a struggle in some sort of experience or if you want to focus and to find the unity in the complex whole it must must must not be too obvious and too whole. So in this context I think one could say down with unity
in this obvious and simplifications sense and on with vitality. That program which relates to the city as it really is. Thank you. I want to before we go on to the next one I wonder is there anything in there you disagree with everything you know. Would you mind. I think maybe nothing about because I forget what I have wanted to go here but would like that. All right so you see like the one thing of being a renaissance man I see from all the pictures of having to do anything about what I what I'm talking about. But I have got them just on my mind. The complexity versus you know I couldn't be in more agreement than the idea of unity at the border is a terrible thing and we know it in Paris in old man's Paris when you get away from
where there were life forms that you don't know what you don't know what hang was going to turn up where the eternal to get more creative. My one brother to me looks like the next one for miles and miles and miles. Now you may not know that right. But that offset some time and walk into the boredom of the plan by one man. I think that you'd agree with that pretty thing. Well now however it's also pretty nice to have a plan. Hard to get around the block me. Although Rhode Island I think country is still a fascinating bit of very carefully planned the early universe. The platform don't push for speculation but it is a little island plant I mean wouldn't you admit it would be very nice to have a little cart purely plan. I agree with you also the filmmaker's bases but how would the old base created it
from home in the plaza really and up to leaders or like we created each one down at the Reagan Building and we don't gather there is no place where the Athenian the gather their role in the coming would know any but people do walk diagonally across the whole point where being how can you make people walk back there. Why we do it a little bit a little bit. That little bit of family planning rather relieved in the general. I'm often here but. I would like the little island even but you know what like the little island playing around here if you could bring yourself to it because the chaos might live outside in any way. It'll be some years before we get rid of a police state and I think we had that Mr Moore in the natural development based on the new ways of real life. Sort of again Jacob but brought up the
like today. But let's not start with the image look what happened to God when he got it with the image of the top guy in the park and look what happened exactly but who guided and by how did we get to the impact of the top guy in the middle of the parking lot with the uniform answer to redoing our book. How do you how did I get him the same magazine that everybody else wrote. I went along with the people I got until about five years ago I thought it was the right way. Nothing the right person might have thought of for me were even his thing. Around for the next generation of architects.
More when I was not invited the fact that he would not. I know that he noted his famous beautiful gown but he was very much worried by what looked like at that point and he and I but I don't like what we can work in. I was the opposite to more child. I'm going. I've got a better image of what we've been living with up are all done by the breaking is just upside down. Time to look at what trolls would you like to them. He's quite right it was. When I came to New York as you know in the 30s he had done the skyscrapers are too many and they're too small. Well and now
Marilyn is taking the problem of planning in New York very seriously. His architect his campaign architecturally baking was more or less conceived and managed by Eli Jacobs and Robert Stern who's here and Robert Stern and Philip Johnson are members of just announced to Mr. Lindsey's committee to advise on these problems. So I wonder if you join if you'd say something about New York and Maryland and what seems to be the general view of things there. Well I would say that to begin with that was when we started this bit of architects helping the mayor. It was to our knowledge the first time that the architect had volunteered their services and taken an active role in a political campaign at least in New York which is not known for its advanced planning in any case. And I think I'd like to rather rephrase my answer to your question the kind of report that is it's interesting
that the way we handled this was that I as an architect a young architect worked with a lawyer because I think that that's very important in the doing and the getting of things done in these matters. A lawyer I might add. Just to just to make things more friendly. We tried everything. We had people go around and take neighborhood surveys in to find out what people thought and we had meetings large seminars in which we had sociologists and social scientists as well as architects around one table. The things that make this little gathering seem very very friendly and that everyone has the same idea. I think what we run one conclusion we made in the zero in the early stages was that the social scientists really have a rather appallingly low set of standards for what the quality of life should be for people in cities. They were shocked and bewildered by any suggestion outside the norm of images the images of a corpus which we've heard about that is to them the image of how
people should live hostages should be reorganized. Anything beyond that really really does not. They cannot spread their imaginations beyond that at this moment at least that was our experience the architects. Far and away had the ideas about new ways for people to live new ways to organize cities. We did get the mayor to make a speech at the candidate for mayor at the time to architect about architecture and about design about the role of the government and our big problem was the definition. It is to this moment of what. What is design in cities how much can a government control who sets the standards. The problems range from what to do with the open space that exists how much influence you can have on private developers what you do within the so-called zoning. Do you use that kind of approach to to as a lever. Or is it executive in that case if you get an egg how good is it. Who was the architect. He's
only as good as the architect he picks and so on. Well at any rate. He is now the mayor and he is attempting through a committee a task force on urban design which Mr. Johnson and I belong to to do something and it's interesting it seems to me to go down the list of who is on this task force to see a kind of cross-section of how you get things done or if we're going to get anything done at all. It's chaired by Mr. Paley of CBS who is a patron of architecture recently. It had its members and editor Mr. Thayer from the New York Herald Tribune I just jot of these down Mr. Andrews brother who is a lawyer in private practice and Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Clark yet another it has a sociologist Mrs. Davidson it has for architect has built more large projects I think than any other architect and so if you agree Mr.
Johnson you're another young architect Jack Roberts and myself. So yes Mr. Robertson's also a Yale man there are quite a few on the committee even that seems to be some correlation. Not not. I'm only kind of a half. It's interesting our first act of our committee has been to hire a consultant a management consultant. And our management consultant has the improbable name of Bruce Allen Hamilton and they are going to tell us what is among the something like Oh I don't know 50 or 60 agencies in New York City that can have something to do with building something placing something locating something ripping up a street tearing it up putting it back together going to whatever they're going to tell us. We presume what what where the power lies nobody knows in New York where the power lies except if the mayor should say we will do this and so which the mayor seems a bit reluctant to do at this moment. But the real
problem is that in talking to the management consultants they know what agency to ask but they don't know what they're asking for. We don't know what it is that we want to legislate. We don't know what it is. We want to control. And I think if we just had a meeting last week I can say that that is really the state of the problem right now. Sir I think it really has a lot if you want to repeat I just want to wink at people who know what they want to ask for but don't know who or how to ask it doesn't know who to ask and how to ask it but don't know what they want or they don't know what they want would be better if they didn't it was a put together is problematic that's really more thank you probably the more actual practice in this form is Mr. De Carlo from Italy. Tell us a little bit about your experience with. Discussion very quickly so you must follow so.
Well I usually work in architecture in your body isn't Vetter double role is enough frequent in my county and perhaps in the most part of the Western European countries. In Italy during the last years to be involved in your bunnies as you know to take short was considered a threshold between the light hurt or the architects who are attending to decorative dick already problems and architects believing that to form an organisation of the physical space is a fundamental problem of contemporary of the society. And in the architectural faculties in Italy but believe in all counties of Europe of Western Europe and even in France.
Look you wouldn't you wouldn't have been the most energetic petitioners for curriculum transformation in order to have a more vision of architecture. I personally agree with this trend and I can still believe that a building code if you have ANY So meaning if you could not have in itself some meaning if it is not conceived as a part of the ward being the city and being deceived every human settlement in the land large or small concentric concentrated or scattered bounded or dirt or boundless. Give him to the
city an idea more wider than the nineteenth century did. It seems to me that your bunnies can be considered as are two different scales of the same problem. Or perhaps that architecture is a particular case of your body. Or again more explicitly. I bet if you were a case of territorial planning the general problem of organizing the physical space. You seem to me impossible or at least very you have or ever have to work in one of the two scales without the mind of the other. It seems to me I never gave him productive attitude
to work in some particular case without the cautiousness of the world. I am acquainted with several objects some objection with some people and especially some architects should be opposed to that statement. Above all that architecture is concerned. We do form of the space where physical plaining is concerned with it. They are concerned they should see into different objects which are different approach and different techniques. But I don't share the sense that the mission I am against. Indeed because it's magic and it is dramatic and more than Especially for architecture. But I guess for all activities concerned with form the problem of form is a
problem of structure to the metrically a problem of structure implies a problem a form to you know domain of the physical space the structure is going to is actually a system which makes the activities of men and society. For ease the matter of structure or we don't know words it's physical three dimensional reality but what appears in form is already as any embryo inside the structure so that the proper process of the definition of begin already in the organization of structure and of course it doesn't end there because the quantity of form feeds back to the structure and the fact its organization its organization out there that it is made of good buildings and good buildings give a good
city. But these obtuse statement is positively a struct. Perhaps he is. There is not a good CD. If it is that you would of good architecture. There is not a good architecture critic without a good organization of the city and good organisation doesn't mean a clear separation of activities or functions. You are to believe but means a piece of them in which the part of the structures and forms are put in a permanent but flexible relation so that the growing and redevelopment redevelopment of the city have to happen within agreed or provisions quickly defined in its general lines and widely variable in its particular connotations.
The richness of life multiplicity and believable is its unexpectedness all who makes the live should be represented in an endless in huge complexity of forms which are possible and vertically if you have outlined by a clear and bone jewel and uncorrupted system of structure and four genera three. According to the vet's cage program the architect's Klein first for the commission of the general problem of its growth and the reader ever read ever having a problem of growth and redevelopment relevant and showing on the form of the CD and her
own needs working their program cannot be entrusted to the officer or to door so called loners were provided expect about the problem of course. Architects the more skillful architects of course must be involved with the plan to refine the shape of the more eleventh element which will condition it before another and its surroundings. So deceit must be a client of our of the architects for the smaller scale of buildings in Europe and pay to the public programs of housing so roads certainly 30 even leisure buildings are beginning more and more important they are so relevant where your role of conditioning and sometimes directing the pattern of the
city. It seems to me that market X should be the protagonists of that operation. I believe that in both situations the intervention of architects should be free. I mean we doubt a limitation about the right to resolve the problem of architectural form according to their feelings. But freedom in architecture as in other subject is not a statement it is immovable invariable result of a dialectical process which we do into the contradiction between the individual and the collective sphere. I guess speaking of architecture freedom we must value a property of the architect nor the property of his client.
It is deceit it is the private property of the collectivity of men and not only during the dance of course but all men can come and see to see it. But each is the property of all men of the world. So that the intervention Foreman takes a meaning exceeding the operation itself because of its the story it is important for I feel the architect's freedom doesn't become free will they do right of architecture where free expression would be better unsaid but known as consciousness of its consequences. Thank you. I'm sure that members of the band would like to comment I can think of I don't know I might say one thing is that to me you
when you said it is a magic and therefore not modern but you said something very interesting. Would you like to fail at something that is that is to step down to let him not hate diagrammatic architecture is not modern. Why why not why not why not Martin. Because the schematic are of architectural diagrammatic architecture is a representation of an idea of work or completely completely stopped completely stopped completely. Life without life without movement without contradiction. And they feel that the moment the contradiction is the real representation of the life there is no life. We don't know contradiction the contradiction is really that of every demonstration of reason taken of that and an architecture we create which can inform of the contradiction must be contradictory or
masked have any possibility to be and be gurus but not in the things of quality but in a sense of very corage. It must be exciting. That's being must be I mean we should put all the contradiction in a contradiction to make to agree on a completion and like the good will you can in terms of what might happen to you Are you interested in Korean partnership. Like I thought if I open the purse contra and modern architecture of the past when it was modern at the time we were almost in the contemporary architecture is not it is not all due to the clone.
I think it's I think it's very important this context because it does seem to me that most of the architects who are getting large city commissions must like the schematic diagram matic are to make a diagram which is easily understood. Then it is a diagram of something it's generation dead and wood and which is easy to comprehend and to love because all the commonest and variety of life is not in it. That's something we're working in Carla because I really can count it quite wrong. Do that in Boston would be quite a problem. Yeah and I wonder if it isn't the greatest fear the architect of a city like Boston starting says that the president here or down here would give away you look but there you had a good man picking the best available architect to do a city plan done by one of our better people and the result is ambiguous all right but it's a good it's bad and if the plans narrowly thinking might
have been better. But anyhow wasn't it that there the tail of the eye could take to do work to figure out that we could be doing. We should be at the forefront of city thinking and I don't think we are a couple we're getting little city jobs on fields in the middle of a parking lot. But we have no influence or interest in them yet. Maybe the totality of what we're hearing down I feel very depressed about. You mean Philip that the architect in the team has given just one building in the Arctic in another building and yes when used in the Arctic you're just as good as they normally are which is that. Will the Lincoln Center of course is the worst can happen by getting the Arctic together. So that's no solution. Boston is what happens when you pick all the best firms in town and they are very good at the time. At least that they did with other works by then maybe other places that are good. Where can we find an example of the largest scale I admit than there would be no where we can
where we can see the proper way I mean Philadelphia. Certainly no solution new to New Haven is certainly no solution. I mean Rudolph and I have just about ruined the. Poor Oak Creek connector might have been pretty good. But on each side of it now are the green to get into buildings. All done in the name of good architecture better the intentions of an excellent mare and a good city planner. Now what do we do next in our trading night here they are good at least a bit. Thanks for that. Well what does that mean with all the best will in the world we cannot under our system to me ever and ever get anywhere. It may be an end but you see it's no accident if it did or being it was done in it. I mean I just can't conceive anybody letting to go out of the curlews and they've got the very best thing we can do is wreck then which is a again not at polling scale of what we really paid. And isn't it
at this scale may be almost impossible to get away from the sterilization and there be an ambiguity of the other death on modern people. I see what you mean you mean that that life and ambiguity is always a part of life had always been contemporary at the time that it was and the instability however of NFL women almost what you pay for the working it is very depressing thought what a great you know almost any question you threw because I think there is really a great difference between the enormous big should be the great visionary digs. Somewhat more systematic approach and there is only other the other kind of expedient improvisation. Every kind of approach are valid and I think that we are not able to
understand this. We tried to we tried to we tried to be pure We tried we tried to be visionary and we end up hopeless when we're dealing with a small scale. We're going to be in the group expedient part of life and who are persons who are the great time concerning doing that every day have to be rich and live for a while. We're in the middle of a really really busy. This relates to the media and even what's happened in Reno and redevelopment in our whole thinking about cities in the last 10 years really what we're talking about. First we went through a tear it all down phase and then we found that either administratively or architecture we were unable to cope with these huge areas of the city. We couldn't make anything up and then it became terribly
Jane Jacobs that other people in the English architecture and so forth opened up a new possibility that is the the infill the continuity cities is evolution. And we we've gone through a phase of that and I think it's we have to have both at the same time I don't think anyone is quite you know we sort of got everybody parceled off we got Mr. Page doing the big developments and we got other people doing the small intil project and when we have to have a boat and we we have no good in for the large thing. And when we do the small thing we get over sentimental and over and over environmental if I can say so it was kind of cute and I don't know if that that seems to me like something with what you really want to call Johnson and I hadn't. Interchange of not a little while ago that flattened me because I was talking about images as I should've been and he answered me about images and one I should have been talking about shapes and see if you want to that the
big problem in all this is that the architects were talking about the haze and so am I not giving it images quoted at once and disastrously or whatever it was an image of these things that are happening now are our shapes and quite rightly people point out that they're there that you can't have one architect can't design six billion shapes he doesn't live long enough. So by expecting As So I mean whoever to to stretch the shake making out over you know how much areas we know in the absence of an image other than the one that's already disproven. We naturally are inviting disaster you can't do that. It's like I'm not sure what is the difference between an image and a shape an image I would take it as something that is based on an idea a shape like a shape. Embodies an idea of how I think you're getting mixed up into Maine. But your point is
that the loony right. But let me have the galimore and the other young people what should have been done let's say in Boston or New Haven which we know well. Should they merit Boston have given the whole thing to tell who are fond of that. Then you got bored with any part of not being interested in rubber stamp you would have done anything of their own you would have somehow gotten variety and unity in all the things we discussed in a big enough scale to have made the downtown Boston what we all would dream that it should be. You know and I would have I would have put my incredible Princeton education to work and I would have come up with a real honest to god image. Well after I thought about it quite a while and in 10 years. And it means now there's no hope for Boston is a run of the presence and I don't think there is agreement. But I don't think that that one consistent lack of image would be any more disastrous than than this sort of Brussels
worlds fair whack of images that Boston is faced with. That's what I think it might just at least be a little easier to take if it was one man without what we want to mass instead of several as we often say about Lincoln Center thinking in any one of the things that were done at work were given better than what we got. Under the collar and Boston and the New Haven I wondered what if you have any comment about and haven't really dealt. With the really difficult because the impossible thing we develop a nuclear weapon. I think from a general sensation but it is wrong. I mean something of a region related immunity
and and so or any result you know I would say something about the world and you a moment ago in the world of them being with us. It's a very dangerous because not of you but college but not so clear. I think we endure in the bed. Like if they're going to argue that the big meteor nation of ambiguity because it is received by people in my mind when I think of ignorance and in the same time means the makers of for the
first reason of ambiguity and the person who are working there. But if you're going to be in the seat it is seems to me very much to be represented in some locks of the commission which must be thought of in your picture in town planning and complaining. I mean that the first time really and the variety of flexibility they're going to use for the community of eternal values a position of lack of not this was easy and I think it is humiliating you know that very humiliating
or I think better represent to represent you and be represented in the nation in the plane in the opinion of the people. I think it is impossible to do a CD from the beginning to the end because it is impossible to know what can happen during the process between the beginning and you do it and so I think that it is necessary to define the structure of the development and by search I mean Tom Joyner a line of of all possible situation of the communities in the land and no more and some in yours. For me we can have the possibility to condition a new event
but the hinges must be really defined and if you think you are the ones from the beginning but Or what is in the interior between the engines which works between the winters we became the sea working around we just might be 3 must be 3 on earth. Try finding the Phoenician in the moment in winter. He became necessity in the moment in which are all the variables of the problem into play and can be calculated and can be interpreted. You've been listening to an informal discussion held at Yale University on the city as a client. The last speaker was John crowd a crowd of the renowned Italian architect preceding speakers all well-known architects in this country were Philip Johnson Robert venturi Charles
Moore and Robert Stern. And since Scully a leading architectural scholar and critic was the moderator. Next week on pantechnicon on most of these eastern educational radio network stations we invite you to join us for Leonard Baskin of Smith College speaking on the role and importance of graphic arts in the university. That's Tuesday September 27 at 10 o'clock. This is the eastern educational radio network.
This record is featured in “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.”
The City as a Client
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-655dvjng).
This episode of Pantechnicon includes a discussion of intuitive urban architecture. Philip Johnson, an American architect, opens discussion about modern architecture and how American art historian and Yale architecture professor Vincent Scully was correct in arguing that the city needs to be constructed as an entire entity rather than designing singular buildings because a ?sense of place? has been lost. Vincent Scully then speaks about the impersonal and faceless nature of urban renewal?s modern architecture. Robert Venturi, American architect, then gives examples of buildings built cohesively and buildings built singularity. Venturi looks at New Haven?s unifying Gothic architecture and Davenport?s clashing architecture, but deems both styles to be appropriate for the cityscale. Venturi continues to explore these themes in architecture in gas stations in Pennsylvania and American piazzas. Venturi concludes that these examples indicate a need for a different kind of unity expressed through the built environment in cities that would recognize complexities. Johnson agrees that the idea of unity can be translated into a boring and confusing aesthetic. Then an Italian architect gives his perspective of city design, where organization is key to having a livable city. This would include buildings built in patterns based on their uses and forms should be varied. The discussion ends with critiques of redevelopment projects in New York, specifically Lincoln Center, New Haven, and Boston.
Pantechnicon is a nightly magazine featuring segments on issues, arts, and ideas in New England.
Asset type
Event Coverage
Local Communities
No copyright statement in content
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Panelist: Venturi, Robert
Panelist: Scully, Vincent
Panelist: Johnson, Philip
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Production Unit: Radio
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 66-0052-09-20-001 (WGBH Item ID)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Generation: Dub
Duration: 00:56:12
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Pantechnicon; The City as a Client,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2019,
MLA: “Pantechnicon; The City as a Client.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2019. <>.
APA: Pantechnicon; The City as a Client. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from