Concise Townscape [Gordon Cullen] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This book pioneered the concept of townscape. ‘Townscape’ is the. Book Review: The Concise Townscape The title of the book is The Concise Townscape and its author is Gordon Cullen. He was an influential English Architect. Concise Townscape has ratings and 9 reviews. Andrea said: This is a wonderful description of the components that make cities and towns work, from a p.

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This book pioneered the concept of townscape. It has been a major influence on architects, planners and others concerned with what cities should look like. Paperbackpages. Published March 12th by Routledge first published December 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Concise Townscapeplease sign up. Lists with This Book.

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Concise Townscape

This is a wonderful description of the components that make cities and towns work, from a point of view that celebrates urban life rather than fears it. It makes you realise just how much written about the city is a literature of fear.

But Cullen seems to get the point, I think: A city is more than the sum of its inhabitants. It has the power to generate a surplus of amenity, which is lf reason why people like to live in communities rather than in isolation.

Now turn to the visual impact which a c This is a wonderful description of the components that make cities and towns work, from a point of view that celebrates urban life rather than fears it. Now turn to the visual impact which a city has on those who live in it or visit it. I wish to show that an argument parallel to the one put forward above holds good for buildings: Like Capra’s clncise of connection, a city is not just a collection of discrete things like streets and buildings, but rather embodies the art of relationship: Gordon Cullen describes three primary ways in which our environment produces an emotional reaction key to the planner or architect: Optics — how we see the environment: Townscaps love his description of serial vision — how the town reveals itself in ‘a series of jerks or revelations’, always negotiating the existing view and the emerging view.

I love how he cinematically pieces the city together as we move through it, he writes: Suppose, however, that we take over this linking as a branch of the art of relationship; then we are finding a tool with which human imagination can begin to mould the city into a coherent drama.

Place – how we find and feel ourselves within the environment: Content – ‘the fabric of towns: Here is Gordon Cullen’s riposte, and plea for og new kind of design of spaces for life and living: The result will be a three-dimensional diagram in which people are asked to live.

In trying to colonize such a wasteland, to translate it from an environment for walking stomachs townscxpe a home for human beings, the difficulty lay in finding the point cohcise application, in finding the gateway into the castle. We discovered three gateways, that of motion, that of position and that of content. By the exercise of vision it became apparent that motion was not one simple, measurable progression useful in planning, it was in fact two things, the Existing and the Revealed view.


We discovered that the human being is constantly aware of cobcise position in the environment, that he feels the need for a sense of place and that this sense of identity is coupled with an awareness of elsewhere. Conformity killed, whereas the agreement to differ gave life. In this way teh void of statistics, of the diagram city, has been split into two parts, whether they be those of Serial Vision, Here and There or This and That.

All that remains is to join them together into a new pattern created by the warmth and power and vitality of human imagination townscaep that we build the home of man.

Optics is brilliantly cinematic, trying to capture movement. Wonderful photographic montages show how a pedestrian moves through space, the changing views of the city, the changing feel of space, the momentary mysteries, the vistas, the partial and full closures, the gateways or walls that can frame infinity.

But the other two evoke a kind of poetry, a word invoking an idea, with pictures townscaep text. My favourite words from the section on Place: Occupied territory, advantage, enclosure, focal point, indoor landscape, and so on, are all form of possession The first category of relationships pinpointing, change of level, vistas, narrows, closure, etc.

The concisr category will be concerned with a known here and an unknown there By now we are all pretty conversant with the slab block building with its uncompromising roof line He continues with categories handsome gesture, projection and recession, incident fluctuation: The typical town is not a pattern of streets but a sequence of spaces created by buildings.

Undulation is not just an aimless wiggly line; townscaape is the compulsive departure from an unseen axis or norm, and its motive is delight in townscapf proofs and essences of life as light and shade the opposite of monochromeor nearness and distance the opposite of parallelism.

We now turn to those aspects of here and there in which the here is known but the beyond is unknown, is infinite, mysterious, or is hidden inside a black maw. I love how he shows visually the difference between the sky and infinity, and how this sense is created through framing. I love how he values mystery. Black, motionless and silent, like a great animal with infinite patience, the townsfape observes nonchalant people passing to and fro in the sunlight.

This is the unknown which utter blackness creates. And then there is Content – he talks about a great levelling, changes in the city after WWII This explosion resembles nothing so much as a disturbed ant-hill with brightly enamelled ants moving rapidly in all directions, toot-toot, pip-pip, hooray. Here and throughout the next fourteen pages we try to establish the idea of typicality, of a thing being itself That character may cpncise rich and very variously expressed — secrecy, entanglement, exposure, illusion, even absence This quality is perhaps least understood or the least demonstrated in present day building, which seems to stop dead at the obvious, the slab block, the gridiron townxcape curtain walling, the banality of pastel-shaded surfaces giggling down from the sky.

But the quality of intricacy absorbs the eye. It is an extra dimension Giggling down from the sky. Town squares, once the preserve of privilege, have since the wartime salvage of railings become public spaces.

Townsca;e is the space that belongs to all of us as residents of the city, in my own words it is all truly public space. So it or paying attention toownscape, especially the ways that cars and increasing traffic have transformed it and severely restricted the right of free assembly. To congregate, to be able to stop and chat, to feel free out of doors may not seem very important compared to the pressing needs of transport, but it is one of townscaape reasons people cohcise in town and not by themselves — to enjoy the pleasure of being sociable.

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Whereas the distinction between in and out doors should be one of degree and kind, it has now become the difference between sanctuary and exposure.

From the visual standpoint the greatest single loss suffered is neutralization of the floor, the space between buildings, which has changed from a connecting surface to a dividing surface. This includes a devastating, rather hilarious critique of what he calls prairie towns. More planning issues I haven’t thought about enough, like street lighting — so much that I did not know!

The Concise Townscape – Gordon Cullen – Google Books

Recent post-war installations in Great Britain are based on the principle of silhouette vision or surface brightness of the road. To imitate daylight — whereby the road surface and objects on it are seen three-dimensionally and in colour — being economically impossible the alternative is to use a lower intensity of light, to reflect light off the road surface evenly so that any object on it is seen as a silhouette which the eye can interpret as man, dog, car, hazard, etc.

There were some awesomely creative ideas for living more outdoors despite the English climate, domes, personal and otherwise. Clear roofs and cocise to enjoy being outside even in winter, I loved it.

And two potential field trips to what he considers town planning that worked — Well Hall Estate in Eltham built in and Redgrave Road, Basildon built in I rather want to cconcise both. And his final message: Even if you lived in the prettiest of towns the message is still just as necessary: On the one hand it has devolved into cobbles and conservation, and on the other it has hived off into outrage and visual pollution.

The only possibly base is to set down the ways in which the human being warms to his ttownscape. To set down his affirmations. Not the grandiose views on Art or God or the Computer, but the normal affirmations about our own lives. It may help to observe human response to living itself.

May 10, Lasanjani added it. Feb 18, Dman rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Any design student or professional. Absolute best book on human qualities of urban design.

Sep 09, Fadzly Sharif rated it really liked it. Help me throughout my final year. This book has some very interesting ideas about the visual aspects of urban form, but it seems that these ideas are difficult to translate from theory to practice.

Like most normative theories it assumes that planners have more practical authority to create change than they may actually possess. In this specific case the author focuses on creating drama through provoking emotional reactions to the built environment. The visual aspects of urban design are only a portion of what a planner should c This book has some very interesting ideas about the visual aspects of urban form, but it seems that these ideas are difficult to translate from theory to practice.

The visual aspects of urban design are only a portion of what a planner should concide, given the number of beautiful places that sit unused and abandoned. Interesting theory to townscapd as part of broader set of concerns to be addressed by planners and architects. Nov 03, Russell Claxton rated it it was amazing.