Saturday, May 26, 2018

Cité Jardin, Montreal, Canada

It's here on google maps.

On pp. 271-2 of his seminal Designing for Man and Motor (Pergamon, Oxford 1964) Paul Ritter credits the design of this small suburban area to J. Auguste Gosselin and R. P. Jean d'Autenil Richard. Ritter writes:

'L'Union Economique d'habitation was founded by a priest with the help of a lawyer. Without any professional designers they envisaged what they felt to be healthy surroundings for the working classes of Montreal in 1940. The social, economic and moral basis was co-operation. By subscription, members joined and houses were built as quickly as the war conditions allowed it. 425 active members moved in from 1942 onwards. Sadly, tragically, the scheme met so many difficulties that it failed to progress as planned. This would have given cities all over Canada such communities. A central building providing a clinic, school, bank, grocery store, cafeteria and directors office, was working well for many years and is not being rehabilitated after some years of disuse.

'Remarkably these lay men, starting from first principles, hit on the Radburn Idea. I paid a prolonged visit to this scheme, completely unknown to planners, beyond one architect in Montreal, to whom I am deeply indebted for showing me the area. It works as well, or better, than any other traffic-segregated scheme I have seen in any country. The path areas are an informal, well-used space in which members have built swings, planted rockeries and in which the in the autumn they burn leaves after children have romped in the piles. Swimming pools would be built in the same spirit only Montreal by-laws make it necessary to fence these off because of danger to small children. Although unlit, the path system is in no way ever regarded as dangerous in the dark and in twenty years there has been no attack on anyone. The culs-de-sac get their name and individuality from the species of tree planted along them, different with each one... larch, planes, chestnuts, cedars, spruce, oak.

'These culs-de-sac have no laid footpaths along them in the main. They are worn. The area, as so many Radburn areas, has gained in value beyond the gain shown by other housing over the years. The  turnover of residents is much smaller than in Montreal in general and a few strolls around the area makes one realise why. I met Paulette Thivierge, twenty, who had lived all her life in the area. She showed a great deal of understanding and enthusiasm for the advantages of the lay-out. There was a great deal of friendly and helpful contact.'

(from p. 272 of Planning for Man and Motor). 

* Arcana this may be, but I am assuming that the Paulette Thivierge that Ritter refers to is the woman born in 1941 who married Hans de Jonge in 1964 and whose 50th wedding anniversary is captured in this video. The most interesting element of this factoid for our purposes is it tells us Ritter visited Cité Jardin in 1961, and perhaps it puts us in mind to try to make contact with Mrs. de Jonge sometime in the future to talk about Ritter's visit and life growing up in Cité Jardin too.

Some interesting takes (article + comments) on the development to be found here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hypothetical 'dwelling units surrounding a communal courtyard'

By Sau Lai Chan of Kuala Lumpur, from Michael Y. Seelig's The Architecture of Self-Help Communities Architectural Record Books, NY 1978 p. 58. One example of many proposed in a multiple dwelling unit cluster arrangement: 'The proposed courtyards vary in size to accommodate from 10 to 30 families with a proportional number of taps allocated to conform to the number of families. The courtyards would also serve as a private recreation space and as a utility space with laundry areas, workshops housed in simple huts, and windmills for generating electricity. The courtyards are interconnected by minor pedestrian routes 4 to 5 meters wide. The houses are designed so that their front entrances face these paths.'

Sunday, May 20, 2018

'Volta River Project' Kpong, Gold Coast (Ghana) 1956

Kpong is here; it seems fairly likely this project, conceived the year before Ghanaian independence was declared, was not built. From Viviana d'Auria and Bruno de Meulder, 'Unsettling Landscapes: the Volta River Project New Settlements between Tradition and Transition', OASE #82, 2010, p. 125

Friday, May 18, 2018

Jacob L. Crane Jr: Turning City Bloks [sic] Inside Out (1929)

Wisconsin State Journal 18 May 1929 p. 3 (89 years ago today). Crane, who studied under John Nolen, would have been very familiar with the 'traditional' internal reserve form through Nolen's use of same.  In 1930 he contributed to a hypothetical 'garden plan' for Chicago which included blocks with 'interior parks and playgrounds'. (Paul Potter, 'Models to Show Garden Plan for Future Chicago' Chicago Tribune 23 March 1930 p. 26).

Monday, April 30, 2018

'The Connecticut Town Green'

Read about it here.

I have spent a little time poring over the map of Windsor but was unable to find the Palisado in question.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Woodmar, Indiana

From the Munster, Indiana Times 18 April 1924 p. 1 (94 years ago today...)

Below is a portion of an advertisement which appears in the same newspaper for 7 April, 1925 p. 9:
Woodmar is here, and the Baring and Knickerbocker Parkways are extant, however I am uncertain of the exact perameters of the subdivision is which is being described in this article. More research is required, I suspect. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brittgården, Tibro, Sweden

'Foot path' sketch from a book co-produced by housing ministries/agencies in the five nordic nations, Housing in the Nordic Countries Copenhagen 1968, p. 201

Cité Jardin, Montreal, Canada

  It's here on google maps. On pp. 271-2 of his seminal Designing for Man and Motor (Pergamon, Oxford 1964) Paul Ritter credits the...