Focusing on instances when architects strategically manipulated urban scale to engage a larger mythic narrative, the essays in this book examine scale and measure in the local architectural traditions of Philadelphia. The essays reveal several such manipulations, offering not only a means of examining vernacular patterns of old cities, but also a challenge to contemporary architects to engage the scale and structure of the city at the intersection of experience and narrative. Architecture defines the city, both spatially and rhetorically; the streets and vernacular buildings of old cities in particular establish spatial rhythms which are modulated, punctuated, and interrupted by design, defining the position of people by giving scale and structure to the built environment. This study is particularly relevant to contemporary architects and to social urban historians seeking to construct or reconstruct urban life in America.
Gray Read is Assistant Professor of Architectural History at the Florida International Univeristy.
List of Plates; Foreword; Acknowledgements; Chapter 1 Introduction: The Measure of Measures in Philadelphia; Chapter 2 Philadelphia Geometries; Chapter 3 Above the Roof: Exquisite Miniature; Chapter 4 Under Philadelphia: Infrastructural Gigantic; Chapter 5 Framing Difference: The Window's View; Conclusion The Poetics of Scale; Bibliography; Index.