Townscape

I have been trying to find out more about attitudes to city planning and have been reading Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter’s Collage City, published in 1978.   They have an admirable description of the origins of townscape:  ‘Townscape, a cult of English villages, Italian hill towns and North African casbahs, was, above all else, a matter of felicitous happenings and anonymous architecture…in the pages of The Architectural Review, even in the early nineteen-thirties, one can detect the uncoordinated presence of all its later ingredients.   A perhaps wholly English taste for topography;  a surely Bauhaus-inspired taste for the pregnant object of mass production – the hitherto unnoticed Victorian manhole, etc.;  a feeling for paint, the texture of decay, eighteenth century folly and nineteenth century graphics…townscape could readily be interpreted as a derivative of the late eighteenth century Picturesque;  and, as it implicated all that love of disorder, cuktivation of the individual, distaste for the rational, passion for the various, pleasure in the idiosyncratic and suspicion of the generalised which may, sometimes, be supposed to distinguish the architectural tradition of the United Kingdom, so (almost like Edmund Burke’s political polrmic of the 1790s) it was enabled to thrive’.

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