An Architectural-Urban Strategy: Re-reading Rowe and Koetter’s Collage City

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


This paper postulates that composition strategies propounded in Colin Rowe (1920-1999) and Fred Koetter’s (1938) Collage City illustrate a form of quotation at the scale of the urban precinct and composite building. The paper demonstrates that three kinds of quotation are at work: quotation as literal citation, as replication of form generation principles, and as evocation of architectural character chiefly by means of the park as city image. The paper suggests that a close analysis of Collage City will add to our understanding of the concept and device of quotation in terms of the aesthetics of urban scale composition. The paper also postulates that certain secondary readings have misread Collage City or at best not done it full justice in claiming the book advocates the common, the permanent, and the stable. The paper suggests that closer analysis of the text, the iconographic support, and student work undertaken under Rowe’s direction in the Cornell University graduate urban design studio demonstrate an aesthetic sensibility, a mind set, and a studio practice that is all about action, change, and movement.
Period5 Jul 2017
Event titleQuotation: The 34th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Event typeConference
LocationCanberra, Australia, Australian Capital TerritoryShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational