summer project 2014-15

11 city plans 

summer work 2014

The research will begin with a survey of iconic city plans from the history of architecture.

Each plan, in different ways, analyses the city and sees something in it – features, qualities, objects, geometries - that was not there before, but that – once seen – becomes the basis for project thinking and design.

Please familiarise yourself with the following 11 plans in addition to the one you have been assigned for further study. By studying them we will develop the discourse and tools to intervene in the city of Porto. Porto is a machine for living in.


Antonio Averlino (Filarete), ‘Plan of Ideal City of Sforzinda (c1460)’ in various sources. See Helen Rosenau, The Ideal City: Its Architectural Evolution in Europe (Oxon; New York, Routledge, 1983/2013). During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the city was transformed from a commercial to a political entity and its form based on the revival of the Platonic view of the world as geometrical. Compare to Sabbioneta and Palmanova. Ross Aitken

Giambattista Nolli, ‘La Pianta Grande di Roma (1748)’ aka The Nolli Plan of Rome in various sources + online. James Basey

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, ‘Campo Marzio plan of Rome (1762)’ in various sources. See Manfredo Tafuri, The Sphere and the Labyrinth: Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970's (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1987). Reference: Piranesi was a student of Nolli and the Campo Marzio is a counter-project to Nolli’s plan of Rome. Jessica Coxon

Ludwig Hilberseimer, ‘Hochhausstadt’ (1924) or Vertical City in Ludwig Hilberseimer, Metropolisarchitecture and Selected Essays (Columbia University GSAPP Sourcebooks). Reference: a counter-project to Le Corbusier’s ‘Contemporary City for 3 Million Inhabitants’ (1922). Stephanie Else

Le Corbusier, ‘Ilot insalubre no. 6, Paris’ (1937) in Willy Boesiger, ed, Le Corbusier 1910-65 (Zurich, Les Editions d’Architecture, 1967) compare this ‘insalubrious archipelago’ to other Le Corbusier urban proposals for Paris. Asya Ivanova

Archigram, ‘Instant City’ (1969) in Peter Cook, et al. eds., Archigram (London, Studio Vista, 1972). Anastasja Lukjanenko

Rem Koolhaas, ‘Exodus or the voluntary prisoners of architecture’ (1972) in Rem Koolhaas, SMLXL (New York, Monacelli Press, 1996) and elsewhere. References: ‘Berlin: Green…’ and ‘Melun Senart’. This was Koolhaas' 5th year project. Georgi McKinlay

O.M.Ungers, ‘Berlin: A Green Archipelago (1977)’ in, Florian Hertweck and Sebastien Marot, The City in the City/Berlin: A Green Archipelago: a manifesto (1977) by O.M. Ungers and Rem Koolhaas (Zurich, Lars Muller, 2013). References: Le Corbusier's sketch of Pirro Ligorio’s map of antique Rome Antiquae Urbis Imago (1561). John Melling

Various authors, ‘Roma Interrotta (1978)’ in AD special issue Roma Interrotta (Library Solum Store). Pick a panel. Explain why. Compare Rossi, Analogical City (1976). Amy Sleight

Bernard Tschumi, ‘Manhattan’ in Bernard Tschumi, The Manhattan Transcripts (London, Academy Editions, 1994/1981). References: ‘Berlin: Green…’ Charli Thomson

Pier Vittorio Aureli, ‘Stop City’ in Dogma 11 Projects (London, AA Publications 2013). References: Archizoom, No-Stop City. Joseph Treherne

summer assignment

0. you have each been assigned a city plan from the list above.

1. get a good print of your plan (most sources included above provide good copies; if you search around, there are also good on-line sources for some of them)

2. produce a series of annotated diagrams (no scale) including

2a. A typology of enclosures and apertures (rooms)

2b. A typology of infrastructure and fabric (cities)

3. Select a representative area of your city plan (approximately a 500 metre square), and redraw it at the scale of 1:500 on an A1 portrait sheet.

4. A short explanatory text (500 words) which captures what the city plan is about, what it is trying to show, how it relates to other city plans. This text should relate to your diagrams.


We are looking for an account of what the city is, and how it is constituted. In particular, your diagrams should document:
·      The inner and outer surfaces of the city
·      Centres and edges
·      Formal and conceptual principles
·      Public and private space or zones
·      Proportions, grids, axes, geometries
·      Layering
·      ‘Narratives’ of growth – how does the city reproduce itself in your plan, i.e., how might it extend – montage, project, replicate, enlarge, aggregate, ooze, leak, etc.
·      This is not an exhaustive list and not all items will apply to all plans.

pin up
We intend to have a pin up of this work and a discussion of cities at our kick off meeting in September.

This work will become an examinable publication, a part of the group work of the unit.

Shortly thereafter, we will go on a short but intense trip to Porto, where we will analyse and ‘project’ Porto, invent sites, narratives, programs, projects, ideas.

1 comment:

  1. We have had a query about the purpose of the 1:500 scale drawing of a 500x500m area of your city plan. We are committed to the idea that drawing is a form of architectural inquiry, knowledge, and judgement. We ask you to construct this drawing in order to become familiar with your city project, to tease out its forms and conceptual principles. Please note that you will also have to select the area of plan to draw, which indicates a certain degree of discrimination. We realise that a 500x500 square will not fit on an A1 sheet. Please do not shrink to fit. Please crop instead. Please indicate the full 500x500 square on a site drawing. We ask also that you take some decisions. For instance, if you feel the drawing needs to be annotated, please do so; if you feel that 1:500 is not big enough, please also draw details of the plan at a larger scale, etc. We intend to subject these drawings to a common format, so that we can draw comparisons. You might, as a group, begin to think about this.