X-Urbanism

Mario Gandelsonas

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Los Angeles

The uniquely American one-mile grid, the relentless continental grid that organizes the megalopolis, is seen in contrast to the urban grids and the boulevards

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Boston - The Head and the  Neck

Alternating sector of urban fabric and fields – with or without building objects – form the head of Boston. The neck, can seen as the result of the overlapping of different grids. Interventions made after World War II have deeply affected the morphology of Boston, erasing entire areas of the close-knit fabrid of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and replacing them with Modernist-inspired building developments.
The result is a series of discontinuous radical sectors of fabric alternating with sectors of objects in a field revealed by the analytical drawings. The peculiar topographic history of Boston (the leving of hills and the filling of Back Bay ) might partially explain the different degrees of resistance to change that characterize the historical fabric of Beacon Hill, for instance. X-Urbanism 4
New Heaven

The original plan of New Heaven contained elements that should both insure the survival of the original grid – an oversized nine-square grid (825 total square feet) with a common green in the center – while also generating a new order for its development, several diagonal streets leading outward from the core. The radial field system surrounding the nine-square grid persists in the plan of New Heaven today. However, this description represents only a simple, perceptual understanding of the city. X-Urbanism 3
Chicago

While the neutral geometric grid and the regular « beat » of intersections in the city of Chicago imply continuous movement, the accidents of the plan produce changing rythms and interruptions where movement stops.
The Ink drawings
he series of ink drawings examine two situations that produce these interruptions of the one-mile grid : the effect of the multiple diagonals that crisscross the plan, and the effect of topographic changes. X-Urbanism2 X-UrbanismSource :
Mario Gandelsonas, X-Urbanism : Architecture and the American City, Princeton Architectural Press, 1999