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In any city we can see various phases of growth and decline and construction materials. This is evident in any picture in a city that's been there long enough. Example of this is in Seattle, and again, I want to encourage you to get out and shoot photographs and to use Google Street View to go see the kind of city that you're modeling. In this particular view we have evolution and revolution evident. An evolution is a gradual change. In this case of building materials and methods. We have load-bearing construction here to the left of the one -way sign, and in this larger building as well, with the brick skin and stone below.
A revolution then is a dynamic or sweeping change that takes hold in a design. We can see in the background here with these steel frame buildings. This is a tall skyscraper where the skin doesn't support the building, as opposed to the brick here in front. This is a revolution. This took hold truly after the Chicago fire actually, when people began to build in iron and then later steel, and buildings got taller, slimmer, and had more windows.
A revolt then by definition is a failure. We don't hear about a successful revolt. We hear about a revolution. Revolts are put down. But in design a revolt is often one of our most cherished pieces. It becomes the icon that makes a city recognizable, in this case this is a Seattle Space Needle. Why is it a failure in design? Because the style of Googie, with this modern space architecture, didn't catch hold everywhere. Most buildings were still constructed in other design styles.
However, the Space Needle is much beloved. It is an icon of Seattle. In design of a city what we need to pay attention to actually is the evolved mundane background. As we can see in this other view there is a clear evolution, both of design style and construction methods. On the right, older brick, load- bearing buildings. As we progress here is a concrete parking garage with a new cladding, steel or concrete frame office buildings, concrete frame warehouse, etcetera, and the overlay of transportation.
We have roads and later were added electric lines for buses, possibly replacing trolleys or something similar, that at any given point in the city, we can visibly see this evolution. And the point here is that the city should not hatch as one piece. It will look unnatural. If you think about cities in movies such as Cloud City or Coruscant or the cities from the Fifth Element, they are plausible in these megalopolis. These megalopoli? This uber city. But they look odd, because they're all of the same stuff, and they don't appear to have evolved to become what we recognize as a city.
This framework will allow you as a designer to evolve any city and with the evolution, invent the icons of a singular place that make the city unique.
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