Monday, December 16, 2013

"Urban planning" of a college campus

I have just re-posted an entry from 2011 that I had temporarily removed. It was a guest post by Yui
Monumental architecture? Not according to Bruce Trigger.
Kamoda called "Ancient urban planning principles at a modern university campus." This was originally submitted as a paper in my senior-level class, "The Earliest Cities." Students take the planning principles for ancient cities from my 2007 article (Smith 2007) , and apply them to the campus of Arizona State University. This is usually a fun project, both for the students and for me reading the papers. I removed Yui's post during the current semester (students were again doing this project), but now I've re-posted it. This was a great student project (that got a grade of "A").

One of the planning principles is monumentality. What buildings on campus are "monumental"? The obvious answer is the football stadium, the biggest building on campus. But I follow Bruce Trigger's (1990) definition of monumental architecture as buildings that are larger than they need to be for their functioning. This can be a subjective judgment; who is to say how large a building "needs" to be? But it makes sense. Sun Devil Stadium HAS to be large to hold all the Sun Devil fans to see their first-place team (Pac-12, Southern Division) play football. So Trigger's definition of monumental does not fit.

Smaller, but more "monumental" following Trigger.
But consider the entrance to Hayden Library. This is not nearly as large as the stadium,but it is a formally marked entry much larger than is needed to simply go in and out of the library. So this library entrance is monumental in Trigger's sense.

Check out Yui's post on the ASU campus!

Smith, Michael E.
2007    Form and Meaning in the Earliest Cities: A New Approach to Ancient Urban Planning. Journal of Planning History 6 (1): 3-47.

Trigger, Bruce G.
1990    Monumental Architecture: A Thermodynamic Explanation of Behavior. World Archaeology 22: 119-132.