VERTICAL CITY 4, GROWING 3D

ELEVATION OF THE VERTICAL CITY. TO ME THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING. THE ULTIMATE , THE BACK SIDE OF THE SIERRAS ON A MOON LITE NIGHT IN WINTER WHERE THE SNOW COVERS THE MOUNTAIN RANGE COMES CLOSE, BUT THIS IS AN ALIVE MOUNTAIN CITY DETROIT WITH LITES BECKONING. CITIES LOOK BEST FROM THE AIR LOOKING DOWN AT ALL THE LIGHTS, BUT THIS IS LOOKING IN ELEVATION IN A THREE DIMENSIONAL FLOWING FORM. I WANT THIS IMAGE ON MY COFFIN. IT SAYS IT ALL FOR ME.

AFTER MY FIRST YEAR I SPENT THE SUMMER WORKING AT THE DETROIT CITY PLANNING OFFICE UNDER CHARLES BLESSING. AN IDEALIST THAT AT THE TIME WAS INSPIRED BY MONUMENT VALLEY IN ARIZONA. HIS APPROACH WAS TO DESIGN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CITY AS CENTERS TO ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT. I REMEMBER OBSERVING HIM IN HIS OFFICE ONE DAY WITH HIS HEAD DOWN IN A DEJECTED MOOD. HE STATED THAT HE HAD BEEN IN DETROIT FOR MANY YEARS AND HAD NOT YET BEEN ABLE TO SIT DOWN WITH THE HEAD OF THE FORD FAMILY TO DISCUSS HIS PLANS FOR THE CITY. THE PROJECT ASSIGNED TO ME WAS AN ADDITION TO THE GENERAL MOTORS NEW CENTER AREA.(SEE BLOG MOTOWN NEW CENTER) THE NEW CENTER BEING WHERE THE GENERAL MOTORS WORLD HEADQUARTERS WERE LOCATED AND A LARGE AUDITORIUM CALLED FISHER THEATER. MY CONCEPT WAS ELEVATED PLAZAS WITH BUILDINGS POPPING OUT OF THEM CONNECTED BY HORIZONTAL BRIDGE BUILDINGS. PARKING WAS BELOW THE PLAZAS WITH STREET ACCESS AND COMMERCIAL SHOPS ON THE PERIMETER. THE ANCHOR BUILDING WAS A HIGH RISE FUTURISTIC CAR CENTER. A HUGE INTERIOR SPACE THAT ROSE FROM THE PLAZA LEVEL DEFINED BY CANTILEVER FLOORS FROM THE EXTERIOR WALLS. THE FUTURISTIC CAR CENTER WAS INSPIRED, BUT IN CONTRAST TO FORDS DEAR BORN GREENFIELD VILLAGE THAT TRACED THE HISTORY OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY. I DREW A COUPLE OF 30″ X 40″ INK DRAWINGS THAT SET A NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON THEIR HEELS. THE SCHEME WAS PRACTICAL AND BOLD. CHEVROLET CARS HIT A SLUMP AND THE PROJECT GOT SHELVED. BUT NOT BEFORE MORT PERSKY, EDITOR OF THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT OF THE DETROIT FREE PREE SAW THE DRAWINGS AND HAD ME EVENTUALLY DO THREE COVERS AND MAJOR STORIES FOR THE DETROIT FREE PRESS. (SEE BLOGS: THE KERN BLOCK, VERTICAL ROAD MASS TRANSIT, AND THE GREAT STADIUM ISSUE).

AT THIS TIME I HAD BEEN MARRIED FOR EIGHT YEARS AND CONSIDERED MYSELF LOCKED INTO A DOMESTIC SCENE. IN AN ACT OF FRUSTRATION ONE DAY I VOICED OUT LOUD A DESIRE TO TAKE A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD. WELL A CUTE SECRETARY THAT WAS STANDING BY SAID SHE WOULD GO WITH ME. I WAS SHAKEN, SOMEONE THOUGHT I WAS DESIRABLE. I WAS INEXPERIENCED AT THESE MATTERS, TERRIBLY NAIVE, AND ROMANTIC. BY FALL I HAD MANAGED TO BRING COMPLETE CHAOS TO MY FAMILY AND TOOK OFF FOR A DORM LIFE AT CRANBROOK. CRANBROOK WAS LOADED WITH INTERESTING ARTISTIC WOMEN. LOOKING BACK AT THIS BEHAVIOR, IT WAS IRRESPONSIBLE ON MY PART. WHAT I NEEDED WAS SOMEBODY TO SIT ME DOWN AND MAKE ME GET REAL ABOUT BEING A FATHER AND HUSBAND. MY WIFE STAYED HOME AND TOOK CARE OF THE KIDS AND I WAS MAKING MAJOR LEAPS OF CHANGE WITH MY DESIGNS AND THINKING. I CONSIDERED MYSELF A GOOD FATHER AND I LOVED MY KIDS. WE HAD MARRIED YOUNG AT 20 AND MY WIFE WAS 18. NEITHER OF US HAD SEEN THE WORLD AND BUILT UP A PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF WHAT MATTERED TO US.

THE FIRST DETROIT FREE PRESS COVER WAS A PREDOMINANT VACANT LOT DOWNTOWN CALLED THE KERN BLOCK.(I WAS OVERWHELMED WITH SUCH A REAL LIVE CHALLENGE. I WAS STRUGGLING WITH THE IDEA IN MY STUDIO AT CRANBROOK AND GLENN PAULSEN QUIETLY DISCUSSED THE PROJECT FROM AN ORGANIZATION PATTERNING POINT OF VIEW. SUDDENLY, ALL OF THE PARTS I HAD BEEN WORKING IN MY HEAD POPPED INTO PLACE. I DID A SWEEPING HALF MOON INTERIOR MALL THAT WAS ANCHORED BY TWO HIGH RISES AT EACH END. THE PROJECT WAS AIMED AT REVITALIZING DOWNTOWN DETROIT. MORT PERSKY, THE EDITOR OF DETROIT FREE PRESS . OBJECTIVE WAS TO DO UNSOLICITED DESIGN THAT WOULD STIMULATE POSITIVE GROWTH IN DOWNTOWN DETROIT. NICE TRY. BESIDES THE KERN BLOCK COVER ARTICLE THE FREE PRESS INCLUDED AN ARTICLE ON THE VERTICAL CITY WITH A NICE BIG PICTURE OF MY FACE PEERING OVER THE VERTICAL CITY MODEL. ( VERTICAL CITY BLOG 3,) I REMEMBER THINKING AS OF THE SUNDAY JANUARY 8, 1967. ALL OF DETROIT WOULD KNOW WHO I WAS. I WOULD BE FAMOUS. WELL, IT DIDN’T WORK THAT WAY. ONE DEVELOPER CAME OUT AND SAW ME AT CRANBROOK AND THAT WAS IT. THE NEXT DAY 50O,000 PEOPLE WRAPPED FISH AND OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS WITH MY ARTICLE. I DID GET RECOGNITION AND PRAISE FROM MY PEERS, BUT THE IDEA THAT GLENN PAULSEN GAVE ME ASSISTANCE, HAUNTED ME. YEARS LATER WHILE TEACHING I WOULD BE THE ONE GIVING ASSISTANCE TO STUDENTS THAT WERE WORKING ON PRIVATE JOBS, I RESENTED WHEN THE STUDENT WOULD RECEIVE PRAISE FOR SOME OF MY IDEAS, BUT I RATIONALIZED THAT IT CAME WITH THE TERRITORY. THAT IS WHAT I WAS PAID TO DO. ALSO I WAS REWARDED, BECAUSE QUITE OFTEN THE IDEAS I GAVE THEM WERE THE NEEDED STIMULUS FOR THEM TO STRENGTHEN THEIR DESIGN TALENTS. RECENTLY A FORMER STUDENT OF MINE WON A MAJOR SOLAR HOUSE DESIGN PRIZE AFTER I HAD GIVEN HIM A CRIT ON RADICALLY CHANGING HIS DESIGN. HE TOOK MY ADVICE AND WON. IN THIS CASE I DIDN’T RECEIVE MONEY FOR MY ADVICE, BUT HE PROMISED TO PULL ME INTO HIS CIRCLE TO MAKE ME PRODUCTIVE.

IN THE FALL OF 1966 I IMPLEMENTED AN ORGANIC GROWTH SYSTEM TO THE PROJECT. GROWTH IS A COMMON FACTOR IN CITIES, BUT GROWTH WITH A THREE DIMENSIONAL EXPANSION LIKE FOUND IN NATURE WAS A FIRST FOR ME AND NOT ANYTHING I WAS ACQUAINTED WITH. TO DATE THE PROCESS HAS BEEN TO TEAR DOWN THE OBSOLETE AND REPLACE IT WITH USUALLY A HIGHER DENSITY STAGE. LIKE WILDERNESS TO GRAZING, GRAZING TO FARMING, FARMING TO SURBIA, SUBURBIA TO ROW HOUSING, ROW HOUSING TO APARTMENTS, APARTMENTS TO HIGH RISE. WITH THE VERTICAL CITY IT WAS A PHASING OUT OF THE EXISTING AND MOVING INTO THE NEW ECO MOUNTAIN AS IT SLOWLY GREW AS DEMAND WAS NEEDED.

THE THREE DIMENSIONAL GROWTH STARTED LIKE A SMALL CHILD AND GREW BY EXPANDING ALL PARTS TO AN ADULT. ALLOWING FOR EXPANSION BY PUSHING OUT FROM CENTRAL BUILDING MACHINES STRAIGHT MEMBERS THAT ALWAYS INCREASED AT THEIR BASE THUS ALLOWING THE COMPRESSION MEMBERS (LIKE THE POLES OF A TENT) TO INCREASE IN SIZE BY ADDING ONTO THE EXISTING AT THE BASE AND PUSHING THE TOP UPWARD. I HAD DONE A STUDY OF A BARNACLE GROWING AT THE BASE AND PUSHING THE TOP UPWARD IN UNDERGRADUATE SCHOOL, SO I WAS FAMILIAR WITH THAT. WOLF HILBERTZ AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS DEVELOPED A SPIRAL GROWTH SYSTEM THAT I INCORPORATED AT A HUGE SCALE. GROWTH TO ME IS THE CRITICAL ELEMENT OF A CITY. A PLACE LIKE SAN FRANCISCO IS LIMITED. THE CHARM OF THE PAST DOES INHIBIT THE FUTURE.

SO THEREFORE THIS THREE DIMENSIONAL EVER EXPANDING SYSTEM THAT SHUTS DOWN AT 8,000 FEET PEAKS WAS ALL NEW. MY STUDIES OF WORLD WAR TWO PILOTS SHOWED THAT THEY DID NOT PUT THEIR OXYGEN MASTS ON UNTIL AFTER 8,000 FEETIN REPEATED FLIGHTS, SO I WAS WITHIN THE CAPACITY OF HUMANS TO GO UP AND DOWN IN THE EXISTING ATMOSPHERE.

THE MAJOR CONCERN AT THE TIME WAS POPULATION EXPLOSION, THERE WAS NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT DETROIT WAS IN THE BEGINNING OF A DOWN CYCLE. THE AUTO INDUSTRY WAS STARTING TO CRUMBLE. AND I WATCHED THE RIOTS FIRST HAND AS A FLAH POINT WARNING OF WHAT WAS TO BE THE BLIGHT OF DETROIT. POPULATION INCREASES AND DECREASES, I HAD BUILD IN A REVERSE CYCLE TO DECREASE IN THE VERTICAL CITY, BUT WAS UNAWARE THAT WOULD BE AN OPTION OF THE NEAR FUTURE FOR DETROIT.

REMODELING BUILDING MACHINES WOULD ROAM THE SURFACE OF THE VERTICAL CITY UPGRADING AND RESTORING THE STRUCTURE. IF NEEDED THE STRUCTURE COULD REVERSE THE CYCLE AND EAT ITSELF AND SHRINK IN SIZE.

THE SPIRAL GROWTH SYSTEM OF THE CORE THAT SPANNED BETWEEN FOOTINGS AND PUSHED OUT FROM GOWITH MACHINE IN DIRECTION OF ARROWS, A THREE DIMENSION GROWTH.

I TOOK A SECTION OF THE CITY AND DID OVERLAYS OF FUNCTIONS STARTING WITH THE STRUCTURE, TRANSPORTATION, AREA USES, AND GROWTH. WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT IT NO LONGER LOOKED LIKE A NORMAL RECTANGULAR WORLD, BUT A LIVING ORGANISM. KONRAD WACHSMAN OF USC FAME CLAIMED YEARS LATER THE BONE LIKE RIBS WERE NOT STRUCTURAL. HE WAS SO WRONG. THE RIBS WERE UNIQUE IN THAT THEY SPIRALED AS WELL ALLOWING FOR THE GROWTH. THIS WHOLE RIB STRUCTURE WAS COVERED BY A TENSILE SKIN THAT MADE A SOPHISTICATED EFFICIENT BOX BEAM SPANNING BETWEEN FOOTINGS. I WAS ON AUTO PILOT. THE GODS MUST HAVE BEEN COVERING MY JUDGEMENT.

KONRAD COMMENT MADE ME REDIRECT MY STRUCTURE TO THE SYSTEM I USED IN THE BIOMOPHIC BIOSOPHERE. SIMPLIFIED ,BUT WHO IS TO SAY LESS EFFICIENT. SO MY ADVICE IS TO LOOK AT THINGS CLOSELY BEFORE JUMPING BY ADVICE FROM WORLD RESPECTED ARCHITECTS.

VERTICAL CITY CROSS SECTION WIRE MODEL

VERTICAL CITY WIRE CROSS SECTION OF SYSTEM

I BUILT A LARGE REGIONAL MODEL WITH AN ACETATE SPIRAL CORE HELD BY TRIANGULAR FOOTINGS . THE WARPED SLOTTED FOR LIGHT UNDULATING SKIN PRODUCED MAXIMUM DENSITY DROPPED DOWN EVERY HALF MILE FOR A MOVABLE FOOTING THAT RESEMBLED A LARGE SLUG. I PUT ON THE SITE MODEL THE EIFFEL TOWER, THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING AND FRANK LLOYD WRIGHTS MILE HIGH TOWER FOR SCALE. THEY PALED BY COMPARISON. I WAS ON A CRUSADE. IT WAS AN EXCITING TIME. MY LIFE HAD BEEN CHANGED. I COULD NEVER GO BACK TO BEING A REGULAR ARCHITECT.

WHAT I ACQUIRED WAS A VISION OF POSSIBILITIES THAT PENETRATED MY SOUL. WHAT IS CURIOUS IS THAT NOBODY IN ARCHITECTURE WANTED TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION WITH ME ABOUT WHAT I WAS DOING, FROM THE LARGE SCALE DOWN TO THE DETAIL OF HOW IT WORKED. TO THIS DAY THERE HAS BEEN NOBODY THAT WANTS TO HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH ME. ERIC CHAVKIN WANTS TO TALK ABOUT NATURE AFFECTING THE STRUCTURE, AND DAVID TEACHOUT DISCUSSED TO WHILE I WAS REFINING THE SYSTEM, BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MEANING OF IT ALL. I AM AN ARCHITECT URBAN PLANNER, THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE FICTION SCHEME, BUT IT IS TREATED AS SUCH. SO REMOVED FROM DISCUSSIONS.

VERTICAL CITY OVERLAID DETROIT LOWER RIGHT MILE HIGH BUILDING BY FLW, EMPIRE STATE BLDG. AND EFFIEL TOWER

MOTOWN, HOME SWEET HOME WHERE THE SUPER CARS ROAM

 

GROWTH PHASE 1 VERTICAL CITY DETROIT, WOODWARD CORRIDOR NORTH AND BRANCHING OUT ALONG THE DETROIT RIVER LARGER PARTS OF THE CITIES INTACT, WINDSOR CANADA FOREGROUND

 

GROWTH PHASE 2 VERTICAL CITY DETROIT LAND HAS BEEN RESTORED

GROWTH PHASE 3 VERTICAL CITY DETROIT REGION REACHING OVER TO CANADA

I WENT BACK TO MY WIFE AND GIRLS AND FINISHED OFF THE PROJECT IN JANUARY OF 1967. NEXT BLOG

GLEN

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10 comments

  1. City Silhouette

    Some cities have iconic buildings, monuments that symbolize it’s identify: Paris – Eiffel Tower; Rome -the ancient Coliseum; London – Big Ben. and there are many others.

    Other cities have Silhouettes, often seen from across water: Chicago has it’s Michigan Lake skyline; New York has its famous look from across the Hudson River. Biospheres skyline silhouette has that look, a flow of rhythms within a series of arcs. This is a tracing of undulation movement across the sky. Very nice, sensual as slow dance.

    The San Fransisco fountain competition entry is the first version. The lastest version, also a fountain, was built in Managua, Nicaragua

    This one, elongated and wth better movement , looks the best. And it’s a structural system, wow!

    For me the ride of the tracings of movement and the transparent notions of time and figure are what sets this off . I agree Glen, this is one beautiful image. Yeah without even going into the what’s, how’s, and why’s. The answers to those pedestrian Q’s are of course, why not.

    eric

  2. eric,

    thanks for the look explained. cities lose all their ugly traits at night when the lights are on. the scintillation drama of having of junk being hidden.

    the scale could be any size, it just happens to be 8,000 feet. why do not apartments look like this?

    a week of questions. not fitting in when i desperately want to make others happy with my design. the latest being a woman’s hand bag. it all seems so simple.

    glen

    • mitm

      so nice to hear from you.
      no i am not planning on entering. i am confused about whether i was even published in the 2012 results. they did some huge poster of the entries that i can not read.

      any advice would be appreciated.

      how are you doing?

      glen

  3. Hi Glen,
    I think they only publish their top 15 to 20 entries.
    I too lost the motivation to enter again, after not being recognised the first time around.
    Am moving along, one step forward, two steps backward :)
    Trust you are still enjoying the sun in Nick…
    Cheers
    MITM

    • mitm

      the sun is great, but heat is the result, and then the objective is get cool.
      driving is a challenge. there are a bunch of crazy drivers that are motivated to go as fast as they can in any traffic pattern, cutting weaving, honking, and opposite side of the road. whatever it takes. the police only work in the daytime and are concerned about pulling you over to get lunch money with a bribe. so there is this constant dodging of police traps. noontime is a good time to drive, since they take lunch breaks . also during the rain they do not work. it is interesting since they do not use vehicles, instead they stand in the road and wave you over.

      glen

  4. Hi Glen,
    Don’t understimate the 3rd world cops. Try not stopping when they wave you to stop, and you’ll find them knocking on your door after a couple of hours, for breakfast, lunch and dinner money. :)
    Cheers
    mitm

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