Porphyry has been used as a paving material in the worlds best Public Squares, Boulevards and Streets. Here is a trio of books extolling the qualities of these great places and what they mean to the cities and civilizations they belong to.
Great Public Squares – Robert Gatje
Forty outstanding urban spaces of the Western world, analyzed and drawn at a common scale for easy comparison, from the storied piazzas of Rome, Venice, and Florence to the elegant places of Paris via less familiar gathering places in Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Portugal, to the former marketplaces and graceful Georgian-style squares of the United Kingdom, to the most interesting and impressive squares of the New World—Santa Fe, Portland, Boston, and New York—architect Robert Gatje offers new insights, stunning computer-generated plans, and color photographs to convey the spatial experience, supplemented by a brief history of each square and measurements to assess their success in meeting human needs for inspiring outdoor space. There is no other source for this comparative data in one place. 35 color plans; 300 color photos
The Boulevard Book: History, Evolution, Design of Multiway Boulevards – Alan B. Jacobs
First built in Europe and grandly imported to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, the classic multiway boulevard has been in decline for many years, victim of a narrowly focused approach to street design that views vehicular traffic flow as the highest priority. This book reintroduces the boulevard, tree-lined and with separate realms for through traffic and for slow-paced vehicular-pedestrian movement, as an important and often crucial feature of both historic and contemporary cities. It presents more than fifty boulevards – as varied as Avenue Montaigne, in Paris; C. G. Road, in Ahmedabad, India; and The Esplanade, in Chico, California — celebrating their usefulness and beauty. It discusses their history and evolution, the misconceptions that led to their near-demise in the United States, and their potential as a modern street type. Based on wide research, The Boulevard Book examines the safety of these streets and offers design guidelines for professionals, scholars, and community decision makers. Extensive plans, cross sections, and perspective drawings permit visual comparisons. The book shows how multiway boulevards respond to many issues that are central to urban life, including livability, mobility, safety, interest, economic opportunity, mass transit, and open space.
Great Streets – Allan B. Jacobs
Which are the world’s best streets, and what are the physical, designable characteristics that make them great? To answer these questions, Allan Jacobs has surveyed street users and design professionals and has studied a wide array of street types and urban spaces around the world. With more than 200 illustrations, all prepared by the author, along with analysis and statistics, Great Streets offers a wealth of information on street dimensions, plans, sections, and patterns of use, all systematically compared. It also reveals Jacobs’s eye for the telling human and social details that bring streets and communities to life. An extensive introduction discusses the importance of streets in creating communities and criteria for identifying the best streets. For each of these streets he has prepared plans, sections, and maps, all drawn at the same scales to facilitate comparisons, along with perspective views and drawings of significant design details. Another remarkable feature of this book is a set of 50 one square-mile maps, each reproduced at the same scale, of the street plans of representative cities around the world. These reveal much about the texture of the cities’ street patterns and hence of their urban life.
Great Streets is a text that has become widely revered and is used universally by students and practitioners. Author Jacobs is widely known for his publications and research in the field of urban design.
Photos and text notes courtesy of Amazon.com, these books are available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.
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 materials are available from Milestone Imports. – www.milestoneimports.com