Andres Duany and "The Case for Looking Beyond Style"
Here is the thing about cities: they transcend time, but they don't transcend place. Time as a unit can be specialized and broken down, by sun dials or competing railroad companies, but place, like hope, springs eternal. From Aleppo to Thebes to Savannah, Georgia, lasting cities have a unique ability to plant themselves in mutable stone - they may change over time, but they are distinctly of a place. The thought behind the design of place is what allows a city to thrive.
Such meaningful thought is behind Andres Duany's recent article for Metropolis Magazine, "New Urbanism | The Case For Looking Beyond Style." Duany outlines many of the modern accomplishments that New Urbanism, as a school of thought, and CNU, as an advocacy organization, have been able to achieve. But perhaps the most powerful argument made by Duany is how he touches upon the timelessness of the basic principles of New Urbanism. New Urbanism is fundamental, and not informed by the dictates and passing fancies of style. Duany responds to what is "impossible to avoid, what matters the most to the AGE: style!" by zeroing in on the elemental ways in which New Urbanism rises above this discussion.
Duany writes, "Architecture becomes our tool, not our end," illustrating the difference between an outward expression and an elemental truth rooted within that expression. Elements of style, as an artificial aesthetic, may be incorporated in some way within the work one produces, but it is because of New Urbanism's focus on place that the movement looms larger than just a competing style and/or mode of development. This is exemplified when Duany references the Charter directly - "Individual architectural projects should be seamlessly linked to their surroundings. This issue transcends style.”
Which cuts to heart of the matter. Simply put, style is associated with time, which will pass. New Urbanism communes with place, and therefore, is enduring.
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