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An excellent case of urban design

Urban design is designing cities rather than designing buildings. The article lists three representative examples of urban design in the United States, Paris, France, and Brasilia, and briefly analyzes them.

Its core content is reflected in three aspects:
①The urban design of Washington, USA focuses on the shaping of the urban axis and the commanding heights of the city, and adopts classical column style in the architectural style. The whole space layout is open, stretched and lively, reflecting the nature and theme of the city.
②The urban design of Paris, France focuses on the shaping of the urban axis, urban green space, and square building complexes, and the overall spatial layout is open and rich.
③ The overall planning concept of Brasilia’s urban design is to “simulate the human torso” to form the urban axis and functional divisions, and the separation of people and vehicles and high-speed traffic are reflected.

planning review

1. The form and content of the urban layout of Washington, USA have reached a high degree of unity. The entire spatial layout is open, stretched and lively, reflecting the nature and theme of the city. The urban design of some cities in our country is somewhat serious and closed overall. The open, stretched, and lively urban design techniques of Washington, USA have great reference significance for our country.

2. Like many other countries in urban development, Paris, France also faces complex contradictions in megacities around the world, but they value planning, cultural traditions, public opinion, and the legal system. This is worth learning. At the same time, Paris, France pays attention to the construction of urban green space. So far, the average green area per person in Paris has reached 24 square meters, which is much larger than that of Beijing, the capital of my country. Urban green space should be a key consideration in urban design in my country.

3. The urban design of Brasília simulates the torso of the human body. The design is bold and innovative. The urban environment, large greenery and water surface all reflect the urban design ideas of Le Corbusier and the International Association of Modern Architecture. Its shortcoming is that this plan lacks history and tradition, and lacks the colorful and attractive charm it should have.

1.Urban Design of Washington, USA

Washington is a world famous city, planned by French engineer L’anfant in 1791.
The theme of Washington’s urban design is to embody the state system of the United States as a democratic, free, and independent emerging bourgeois country after defeating British colonial rule, and the separation of powers among the legislative, judicial, and administrative powers.
The urban design skillfully utilizes the topography, with the highland of Capitol Hill as the symbol, and two vertical and horizontal axes are designed. The main axis is east-west, with the Congress as the center of the city, the north-south axis with the Presidential Palace (White House) as the focus, and the Washington Monument (obelisk) at the intersection of the two axes. The main axis of the city is dominated by broad greenery.

The radial boulevard centered on the central palace in Washington DC and the large planned garden behind the palace

It should be noted that the urban axes of western countries pay far less attention to the north-south direction than China, and their psychological diagrams are derived from religion. Washington’s axis consists of a longer east-west axis and a shorter north-south axis, which is a typical “Latin cross” structure.
Langfang’s scheme is obviously influenced by the French Palace of Versailles, and the whole design has a strong Baroque color. He made reasonable use of the base’s specific terrain, landforms, rivers, orientation, orientation, and other conditions to plan Washington into a grand urban pattern with grids and radioactive roads.
The urban design plan was supplemented and perfected later, and the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool were built at both ends of the main axis, the Jefferson Memorial was built at the southern end of the secondary axis facing the White House, and cultural buildings such as museums and art galleries were built on both sides of the boulevard.
In terms of space design, except for the Obelisk, which is the commanding height, the Capitol Building is 45 meters high, which sets the tone for the building height of the entire Washington City. All buildings are not allowed to exceed this height, and the classical column style is adopted in the architectural style.

Washington, marked by Capitol Hill Heights

Due to the large green space and water surface, the whole spatial layout is open, stretched and lively, reflecting the nature and theme of the city.


2.Urban Design of Paris, France

Paris, the capital of France, is known as the “Flower Capital”. On the one hand, it is due to its prosperity and luxury, on the other hand, it is also due to the beautiful and moving cityscape.
Paris is formed around the gradual expansion of the Seine. During the reign of Louis XIV in the second half of the 17th century, Paris had a great development. At that time, the central building complex with the Louvre as the main building and the Champs Elysees as the main axis had been basically formed at that time.

Medieval Paris map

When Napoleon III was in power in the middle of the 19th century, Hausmann presided over a major reconstruction of Paris.
In addition to completing the construction of the city’s vertical and horizontal axes and two ring roads, for the purpose of rectifying the city’s appearance, developing the urban area, and facilitating military operations to suppress people’s uprisings, many wide radial roads have been opened in the densely packed streets and alleys of the urban area. Roads, and many squares were built at the intersections of the roads, and many bridgehead squares, green spaces and new axes were formed at the intersections of the roads and the Seine River, which basically established the skeleton of the urban area of Paris.

A map of modern Paris, where the narrow medieval streets of the original square of Paris are replaced by wide, divergent avenues

There are three points of success in the urban design of Paris presided over by Hausmann:
01.Open and rich urban axis
The main axis of Paris is east-west, parallel to the Seine. With its open and colorful appearance, it shows the wealth and culture of the French dynasty.
It is characterized by:
① The main axis of the city is parallel to the Seine River, making full use of the wide water surface and green space to make the urban space bright and bright.
②In addition to the main axis, there are many secondary axes, which lead to many squares and building groups in the city, forming many opposite views and borrowed views.
③A lot of places of interest, gardens, squares, and tree-lined avenues are connected in series on the axis, each of which has its own characteristics and is rich and colorful.
02. Dotted with urban green space
In addition to a large area of forest parks at the east and west ends of the old city of Paris, there are also many famous parks and gardens. There are many green spaces in front of many ancient buildings and in the square. These green areas are not large, but they are carefully arranged.
From a green distribution map of Paris, we can see that the entire old district of Paris is dotted with green spaces. It really deserves to be called the famous capital of flowers. So far, the average green area per person in Paris has reached 24 square meters.
03. Well-planned and constructed square complex
During the hundreds of years of construction in the old city of Paris, a large number of palaces, mansions, temples, churches and other public buildings were left behind, and these buildings formed the square complex. These public buildings and monuments are of good quality and well preserved in urban design.
In particular, the “Guidelines for Urban Reorganization and Construction of Paris” adopted in March 1977 determined to protect the traditional features of the old city formed in the 18th and 19th centuries, and required the maintenance of its traditional functional activities.
The new sub-centers, such as De Fense, are far away from the old districts, but the high-rise buildings are also restricted, which is very important in urban protection.

3.Brasilia Urban Design

Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil, is located at the confluence of two rivers at an altitude of 1,200 meters. In 1956, the government decided to move the capital and chose this location.
An international competition was held in 1957, and the plan of the Brazilian architect Lucio Costa won the prize. His planning and design ideas are the theoretical principles of the Athens Charter of the International Council of Modern Architecture (CIAM), but he also pursues certain themes, which is why he emphasized that Brasilia is a capital, “planning is the intentional pursuit of dignity and elegance”.
The entire planning concept is to “simulate the human torso”, and use this as the main axis. On this axis, government agency buildings are arranged, and the center is the famous “Three Powers Square”. On the other axis, urban residential areas are mainly arranged. The two wings are arc-shaped, and the intersection of the two axes is the 4-story large platform as the heart, which is an important transportation hub and public center in the city.

Brasilia City Planned Like an Airplane

Brasília was built from 1956 to 1960 and was planned and constructed in the form of new towns and urban planning. It is also famous for its boldly designed buildings and rapidly growing population.
Brasilia fully embodies the separation of people and vehicles and high speed in urban road traffic planning. The urban environment, large areas of greenery, and water surface reflect the urban design ideas of Le Corbusier and the International Institute of Modern Architecture.

brasilia street scene

parliament building

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