Tessellar Blog

Friday, November 30, 2007

Catal Huyuk and the ‘Semi-Grid’ Pattern

One could safely assume that cities laid out according to a geometric were planned. They were the products of a highly organized society where a ruler or authority can impose a preconceived shape to a new town. That must certainly true for round cities like Gur and Baghdad, and is most probably true of Roman fortresses (Caerleon) and Greek colonies (Miletus). The precise diagrammatic pattern of the settlements strongly suggests central planning.


Catal Huyuk , an artist impression from www.anarheologija.org


But consider Catal Huyuk in Anatolia in modern Turkey. In this Neolithic village of about 7500 BC, we find individual houses, mainly rectangular in shape, abutting each other to form what is close to a rectilinear pattern.


No streets here, just houses next to each other, from www.angelo.edu

There was a tradition of building rectangular buildings. Also there were the actions of individual builders who constructed new houses next to old ones in a pattern that is practical and efficient. No central planning here!


A semi-orthogonal layout, from Michael Smith


References:


Related Post:

Subscribe to Tessellar Blog
and get a FREE E-Book


HONEYCOMB HOUSING
An Affordable Alternative to Terrace Housing


17MB, 49 A4 pages, 57 illustrations



Social Bookmarking

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Information

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Roman Fortress

The colonies of Greece, before the Macedonian Age at least, were not conquests. Rather they were new settlements formed by emigration. When the population of an old Greek city grew beyond what the countryside could bear, a group would set out as pioneers to form a new colony or apoike.


From Spiro Kostof, illustration by Alan Sorrell

Not so the Romans. Colonies were outposts of the Rome. The Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon (Wales) was founded about 75 AD. It had a standard headquarters grid plan with two main roads: the via principalis and the via preatoria. At theT-junction of the two streets was the headquarters (principia) and the general’s quarters (praetorium). Barracks lay on the other side of via principalis.

Outside the military camp is the town – a contrast in terms of planning.


References:

  • Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991

Related Post:

Subscribe to Tessellar Blog
and get a FREE E-Book


HONEYCOMB HOUSING
An Affordable Alternative to Terrace Housing


17MB, 49 A4 pages, 57 illustrations



Social Bookmarking

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Information

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Terremare in Ancient Italy

The Roman must have learned something about using the grid to lay out cities from Hippodamus and Greeks, but they also had their own gridded settlements. They had the ancient Bronze Age settlements called the terremare from about 1400 and 800 BC.

The people who dwelt in these villages are thought to have come from the north where they lived in lake –villages. But in Italy, on the the highlands, they created artificial island- villages surrounded with a water-filled moat.

“At Castellazzo di Fontanellato, a little west of Parma, are the vestiges of a settlement which, with its defences, covered an area of about forty-three acres. In outline it was four-sided; its east and west sides were parallel to one another. Round it ran a solid earthen rampart, 50’ (15m) broad at the base and strengthened with woodwork . In front of the rampart was a wet ditch (A), 100’ wide, fed with fresh water from a neighbouring brook by an inlet at the south-western corner (C) and emptied by an outfall on the east (D). One wooden bridge gave access to this artificial island at its southern end (E)".




"The area within the rampart, a little less than thirty acres in extent, was divided into four parts by two main streets, which would have intersected at right angles had the place been strictly rectangular; other narrower streets ran parallel to these main thoroughfares. On the east side (F) was a small 'citadel'—arx or templum—with ditch, rampart and bridge of its own (G, H); in this were a trench and some pits (K) which seemed by their contents to be connected with ritual and religion. Outside the whole (L, M) were two cemeteries, platforms of urns set curiously like the village itself, and also a little burning ghat. The population of the village is reckoned to be four or five thousand, crowded into small huts”.


References:

  • Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991
  • F. Haverfield, Ancient Town-Planning, 1913, download from Project Gutenberg

Related Post:

Subscribe to Tessellar Blog
and get a FREE E-Book
HONEYCOMB HOUSING
An Affordable Alternative to Terrace Housing


17MB, 49 A4 pages, 57 illustrations



Social Bookmarking
Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Information

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Circleville, Ohio

From rootsweb.com




From top to bottom, Circleville in 1811, 1837, 1838, 1849, and 1856

Daniel Driesback laid out this circular town with radiating avenues in 1810. It was based on a circular mound that had been built by Indians before the city was built. In the centre plaza, on top of the mound, was an octagonal courthouse. Outside the circle though was a grid.

But he grid eventually overtook the circular centre.
By the time James Silk Buckingham visited the site in 1840, he wrote:
“So little veneration …have the Americans for ancient remains…that this interesting spot of Circleville, is soon likely to lose all traces of its original peculiarities. The circular streets are fast giving way, to make room for straight ones; and the central edifice itself is already destined to be removed, to give place to stores and dwellings; so that in century or less, there will be no vestige left of that peculiarity which gave the place its name, and which constituted the most perfect and therefore the most interesting work in antiquity of its class in the century”

In fact it took only about 50 years.













References:

  • Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991
  • Quote from J.S. Buckingham, “The Eastern and Western states of America”, 1842, quoted in Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991, pp 162

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Tessellar Blog
and get a FREE E-Book
HONEYCOMB HOUSING
An Affordable Alternative to Terrace Housing


17MB, 49 A4 pages, 57 illustrations



Social Bookmarking

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Information

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Hexagonal Plan for Detroit

Thomas Jefferson appointed Augustus Woodward on March 3, 1805 as the Michigan Territory's first Chief Justice. The judge arrived with the city in ruins from a devastating fire.

“Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus” - we hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - became the city's motto. Woodward, turned town-planner, came up with a hexagonal plan with a park in the middle and wide streets radiating outward in a triangular pattern:



“ the bases of the town …shall be an equilateral triangle,having each side of the length of forur thousand feet (1200 meters), and having every angle bisected by a perpendicular line upon the opposite side”.


Woodward’s hexagonal grid plan for Detroit, 1807.
Source:Cauchon (1927)



From en.wikipedia.org

Citizens who had lost their homes were given larger pieces of land. The idea was that additional hexagons could be added one as the city grows. But this plan was abandoned after just 11 years, and a grid street pattern was superimposed over the hexagonal design.

References:

  • Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991
  • Eran Ben-Joseph and David Gordon,Hexagonal Planning in Theory and Practice, Journal of Urban Design, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2000
    2 Mb pdf download

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Tessellar Blog
and get a FREE E-Book
HONEYCOMB HOUSING
An Affordable Alternative to Terrace Housing


17MB, 49 A4 pages, 57 illustrations



Social Bookmarking
Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Information