Survey of World Architecture -Project Interpretation | Online Assignment Help

Survey of World Architecture 3 Arch 35202, Fall 2018 Instructor: Prof. Cesare Birignani Section Leaders: Sonja Gandert, Mary Gilmartin, Horacio Ramos Research Project #1: Physical Space, Columbus Circle Issued: Friday, Sept. 14 Due: Friday, Oct. 5 This is the first of three assignments intended to introduce you to different methods of historical research. Over the course of these assignments, you will consider the physical, social, and symbolic construction of space, analyze form for meaning, and come to terms with change over time. Project’s goals: Description, analysis, and interpretation of the physical construction of space. Research methods: Empirical, archival. Site: Columbus Circle, intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South (West 59th Street), and Central Park West, at the southwest corner of Central Park. Some context: Designed by William Phelps Eno, an early pioneer in road safety and traffic control, Columbus Circle was completed in 1905, having been added to the South West corner of Frederick Law Olmstead’s Central Park in the early 1870s. The circle connects traffic from four main streets: Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South, and Central Park West. Originally intended to serve horses and horse-drawn carriages and then automobiles, the circle is now a major vehicular roadway and a pedestrian crosswalk as well.

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In 1892, the four-hundred-year anniversary of the “discovery” of the Americas, the circle was renamed to commemorate Christopher Columbus, after local Italian Americans donated a sculpture of the Italian explorer to New York City. Italian Americans, recent arrivals to the United States, experienced intense discrimination as Catholic, non-English speaking immigrants, and the gift of this sculpture showed their determination to stake a place in U.S. public culture and celebrate their cultural and artistic traditions. The sculpture faces the Merchant’s Gate to Central Park and the USS Maine National Monument, built in 1913 as a memorial to the sailors killed aboard the USS Maine in 1898 during the Spanish American War. The newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst promoted the war with extreme anti-Spanish rhetoric in his newspaper, the New York Journal, giving birth to “yellow journalism,” and he also used his paper to raise funds for the memorial.

Symbolic interpretations continue to dominate contemporary discussions of Columbus Circle. This is particularly true today as recent events are causing many to rethink the role of monuments and their relationship to U.S. history. But before Columbus Circle was a flashpoint in debates about public space, it was an architectural and urban design problem that needed to be solved. In this assignment, you will consider a symbolically charged site from the perspective of the physical and grapple with how it came to be. How was Columbus Circle physically produced between the 1870s and 1910s? Instructions I. Fieldwork: Visit Columbus Circle. Observe the street. How is space physically constructed at the traffic circle? What are the constituent parts of the circle and how do they function? How do

Deedee Kopciel
Deedee Kopciel

the park, the circle, and the main transportation arteries that run through it relate to one another? Consider how pedestrians and cars navigate the streets and how the circle relates to its surroundings, particularly Central Park. Take field notes. Make sketches. Record what you see. II. Archival Research: Locate three original fire-insurance maps of Columbus Circle (one from the 1870s, one from the 1900s, and one from the 1910s) at the Map Division of the New York Public Library [www.nypl.org/about/divisions/map-division] or the New York City Municipal Archives [www1.nyc.gov/site/records/about/municipal-archives.page]. Analyze the maps. Where and how can you see how the circle changed over time? III. Writing: Synthesize your empirical and archival research. How do the maps deepen your understanding of the site? Do they complement your experiences in real space? Do they contradict them? What conclusions can you draw? In the conclusion of your paper, consider the symbolic construction of space and the contemporary moment. As cities like Los Angeles are abolishing Columbus Day in an effort to address histories of imperialism and rewrite our nation’s cultural narrative, what do you think about the commemorative function of the circle? Has the research you’ve conducted about the physical construction of the circle impacted your opinion? Why or why not? Your paper must be 3 to 5 pages long, not including drawings or other images, and be written in the first-person (your voice) rather than third-person. You should illustrate your analysis of the fire-insurance maps (archival research) and your experience of the site (empirical research/fieldwork) using sketches, diagrams, trace drawings, maps, photographs, etc. Illustrations can be included in the text as figures or assembled in a single collage on a 24” x 24” sheet. Remember to add brief captions to your illustrations. The paper should be clearly written and proofread. The paper should be typed, with 1-inch margins all around. Use 12-point, double-spaced type for the body of the text and 10-point, single-spaced type for footnotes. Remember, all work must be your own. Copying (including from the Internet) is plagiarism. Cite all your sources, including maps, according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Poorly written essays will be returned, marked “R”—meaning revise and seek help at the Writing Center. For background, consider these texts:

William Phelps Eno, Street Traffic Regulation (New York: The Rider and Driver Publishing Co., 1909), esp. 27-30.

[books.google.com/books?id=oP08AAAAYAAJ&dq] George J. Lankevich, “Columbus Circle,” in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth

T. Jackson, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010): 287-88. [books.google.com/books?id=lI5ERUmHf3YC]

Bénédicte Dechamps, “‘The Cornerstone is Laid’: Italian American Memorial Building in New York City and Immigrants’ Right to the City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” in European Journal of American Studies 10, no. 3 (2015): 2-10. [journals.openedition.org/ejas/11299]

Another useful source is the podcast

“Columbus Circle: A Century of Controversy,” The Bowery Boys (Sept. 15, 2017). [boweryboyshistory.com/2017/09/history-columbus-circle-century-controversy.html]

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