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Porphyry and New City Spaces


Porphyry and other stone pavers are throughout this book about important examples of urban public spaces worldwide. The upsurge in interest in public spaces and public life over the past twenty five years has generated an impressive array of city plans, public space strategies, and designs. This book presents an overview of this development and provides a detailed description of architecturally interesting and inspiring public space strategies and projects from all over the world. Nine cities with notable public space strategies were selected for special review: Barcelona,  Lyon, Strasbourg,  Freiburg,  and Copenhagen in Europe, Portland in North America, Curitiba and Cordoba in South America, and Melbourne in Australia. In addition, thirty nine international public space projects are presented and discussed. Drawings, plans and photographs illustrate city strategies and public space projects in detail.

New City Spaces provides an international perspective on the renaissance of public life and public spaces over the past 25 years. All of the examples of public space are in outdoor urban areas.  With the exception of a few streets and promenades, the majority are squares that are new are renovated.  The book can be viewed – and read – as an overall presentation of the issues or as a reference book in which ideas, projects and visions are introduced in the interests of information and inspiration. It has been published by Danish Architectural Press, 2000.

The object of this book is to present selected examples of public space strategies as well as projects illustrating developments in the area of public space architecture. The architectural treatment of public space has naturally been an important starting point, but life in the city and the interplay between urban life and public space has also been emphasized. The selection and discussion of the individual cities and public spaces is influenced by this interest in the city as meeting place and public space as facilitator. For each of the public spaces selected, a plan of the space was drawn in a scale of 1:2,000. Maps were also drawn showing the city and the surrounding areas in comparable scales. In selecting the cities and public spaces covered here, the objective was to come up with a representative sample that would illustrate the most important policies and design ideas underlying the work on public space.

The book is composed of three distinct parts.  “Winning back public spaces” deals with the development public space and its uses in the period of 1975 to 2000.  “9 cities and 9 public space strategies” traces examples of entire cities that have created a unified vision regarding public space.  “39 public spaces” represents individual reviews of excellence from around the globe.  There are New Public Spaces, Renovated Public Spaces, Monumental Squares, Traffic Squares, Promenades, Recreational Squares and Main City Squares.

CopenhagenThe authors, Jan Gehl and Lars Gemzoe are with Gehl Architects. Gehl Architects is an urban research and design consultancy in Copenhagen. It is an interdisciplinary team of 35 people include architects, urban designers, landscape architects, graphic designers, sociologists, anthropologists and cultural theorists. Additionally, Gehl Architects employs a network of internationally recognized experts as specialist consultants.

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –  www.milestoneimports.com