Leon Krier Lecturing in Providence

2009_11 Krier Miami BuildingSave the Date! Leon Krier, one of the most influential architects and urbanists of modern time, will be lecturing in Providence on December 3rd at the De Ciccio Family Auditorium on Brown University’s Main Green, 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  For years, I have enjoyed coming back to Mr. Krier’s books for inspiration and clarification.  His cartoons are some of the most memorable diagrams I have ever scene. They so elegantly capture the direction we should be taking the development of our built environment.  Having recently lectured in a building of his design, I can attest that he is master of light and space.  It will be a true honor having him spend a few hours in Providence with us.

For more information on the lecture click here.

2 thoughts on “Leon Krier Lecturing in Providence

  1. Matt Lawlor

    I’ d love to get your thoughts on how Krier’s lecture went from your perspective as an urban designer. There was a lot packed into his 60+ minutes that evening. Among the many themes introduced, the criticism of what Krier terms “vertical sprawl” hit very close to home given my New York roots. Of course, taken to a logical extreme of every building in the city being 50 stories, the result would be unlivable. But I don’t think the city would ever come remotely close to that condition, no matter how far into the future we project, so I’m not entirely sure the critique holds.

    1. Russell Post author

      Matt- I have been preparing a post addressing many of the issues that Krier spoke about at his lecture. Look for it soon.

      In the meantime, the issue of “vertical sprawl” is a tough one. New York represents both sides of the coin. I had the pleasure of staying on the upper East Side a few weeks ago in a 31st floor apartment. The views were amazing. However, the idea of walking up the stairs with a bag of groceries when the power goes down is frightening. After exploring this neighborhood for a day, the Park, the Met, etc., we ventured over to Brooklyn to visit some friends. The change in scale, from canyon like streets flanked by towers to brownstones and mid-rise walkups, was surprisingly pleasant, and, in a way, more alive. I always love visiting New York for the energy that the street life gives off. But, after further reflection, whenever we stay in the City we always manage to find our way to these more human scaled neighborhoods. The character of these lower types of builds and the resulting streets are perhaps a more natural environment for our species. And for some reason, always have the best bars in them.

      I often think about London when the issue of “vertical sprawl” is discussed. Was London better off before the towers started going up? Will these new structures continue to be loved by the coming generations? Will they evolve into praised landmarks as other skyline defining structures? Do they really increase density in a positive way?

      What are the real benefits of extreme hight? Does good common sense make these types of towers feasible? I fear that because we can build that high is not the best reason to build that high. One final thought, before I go off on tangent, is that as building types these tower structures rely exclusively on technology to exist: the elevator, the central air conditioning plant and other large scale systems. As technology changes, how well will these buildings adapt? The seven story walkups in Paris are still functional. The palazzo of Rome are still functional. Will some of these towers be function in another hundred years? -Russ

Leave a Reply