novel architecturale

1981

1


Urbanization of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    Lotus International 19

Seminary College
    Ichnographia Campus Martius
    Lotus International 24


Institute of Contemporary Art   224a
    Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters
    Wissenshaftzentrum


House for Karl Friedrich Schinkel 007

Project: The Re-Urbanization of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Theme: 1. Complete the Urban "Image" of the Parkway's Present State

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is incomplete in its urban imagery. The original concept of a "baroque boulevard" goes only skin deep. The Parkway's presence as an unobstructed visual link joining City hall with the Philadelphia Museum of Art is clearly reminisent of Pope Sixtus V's urban design plan of 16th century Rome, which coordinated the major Christian churches and monuments of that city into a single, cohesive experience--an atemporal, spatial, and theatrical city-museum for the devoted.

Urban models and their subsequent imagery have tended to be both too literal and superficial when used by the designers and architects of the City Beautiful Movement. Following in time, the Modern Movement, and particularly the precepts of the CIAM, eradicated any use of the historic, pre-industrial city as an urban model. The present state of Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway manifests the consequence of both these ideologies.

The City Beautiful Movement provided the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a wide array of urban allusions, including: the single perspective of the Renaissance; the coordination of significant buildings and monuments as per the baroque Rome of Pope Sixtus V; the Karlsruhe scheme of connecting the city with its surrounding natural landscape; and the German Romantic notion of a single street accomodating housing, offices, palaces, universities and schools, which spans from the city center to an outlaying park, as exemplafied by Berlin's Unter den Linden and München's Ludwigstrasse.

The most obvious historical urban precedent for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, however, is the Champs Elysees of Paris. The wide breath of the Philadelphia Parkway emulates that of Paris, and, moreover, Philadelphia's Public Library and Munciple Court buildings are replicas of the Parisian palaces on the Place de la Concord.

The Modern Movement's effect on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are the many freestanding apartment towers dominating the overall urban nature of the place.

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is underscored with many incomplete urban paradigms.

This (thesis) proposal is for the re-urbanization of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Vine Street Expressway and the Schuylkill River.

The re-urbanization is to occur through the introduction of urban blocks, squares, and a river park, together facilitating housing, shops, offices, cafes, restaurants, clubs, a pension, a public bath, two artisan co-ops, a small market, a cinema, and various public amenities such as monuments, pomenades, gardens, and playgrounds.

All these new facilities, woven into a dense urban fabric, are to compliment and/or contrast the existing built elements of the area, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Youth Study Center, the Park Towne Apartments, The Washington Memorial, and the Parkway itself.

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