Clarence Stein- Introduction Stein, Clarence, 18821975, American architect, b. New York City, studied architecture at Columbia Univ. and the cole des Beaux-Arts. Stein worked in the office of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, where he assisted in the planning of the San Diego World's Fair (1915). Along with Lewis Mumford and Henry Wright, Stein was a founding member of the Regional Planning Association of America, a group instrumental in importing Ebenezer Howard's garden city idea from England to the United States. Stein and Wright collaborated on the design of Radburn, New Jersey (192832), a garden suburb noted for its superblock layout. Stein wrote Toward New Towns for America (1951).
Historic Context During World War I, the US government assumed responsibility for the housing of workers in war industries. Two agencies were created to implement this program: the Housing Division of the Emergency Fleet Corporation & the United States Housing Corporation. During this period, many were producing the dreary, monotonous rows of cheap & poorly planned single family houses & apartments. Studies by Henry Wright & Clarence Stein demonstrated the need for complete analysis of all costs that enter into housing. The row or group housing was prevalent in all Eastern cities. Baltimore & Philadelphia are famous for their row houses with clean, stone entrances. Henry Wright & Clarence Stein went one step further, they demonstrated the superiority of the dwellings two rooms in depth rather than the tandem arrangement to which the usual row house had degenerated. They showed how the group house improved land planning, in comparison with detached units and their wasteful side yards. These architects contributed much to the enlightenment in planning that emerged in the 1920s & early 1930s.
Basic concepts of Stein & Wright
The superblock is a large block of land surrounded by main roads. The houses are grouped around small cul-de-sacs, each of which has an access road coming from the main roads. The remaining land inside the superblock is park area, the backbone of the neighbourhood. The living and sleeping sections of the houses face toward the garden and park areas, while the service rooms face the access road.
Sunnyside Garden Built from 1924-1928 Architects -Clarence S. Stein, Henry Wright, and Frederick Lee Ackerman Landscape architect Marjorie S. Cautley Other founders-Eleanor Roosevelt, ethicist Felix Adler, attorney ,housing developer Alexander Bing, urban planner Lewis Mumford. Today, the 55 acres of Sunnyside Gardens are contained within 17 city blocks, with 535 row houses, 32 co-ops, and hundreds of rental apartmentsall adjoined by garden spaces.
Sunnyside GardenSalient features Large areas of open space were included in the plan. Construction costs were minimized, which allowed those with limited means the opportunity to afford their own homes. Rows of one- to three-family private houses with co-op and rental apartment buildings were mixed together and arranged around common gardens. Contiguous blocks are known as Courts, with buildings enclosing interior garden commons. Lanes and walkways lead through each block to divide the interior space into three of four smaller garden areas Stores and garages placed around the edges of the neighbourhood.
Sunnyside United Neighborhood Network (SUNN) For the first four decades, Sunnyside Gardens was meticulously preserved by design. Deeds for new homes with 40-year restricted covenants, which forbade changes without the approval of trustees elected from the homeowners associations. These covenants kept common garden space open and fostered an awareness of architectural qualities worth preserving. Beginning in 1964-68, as 40-year covenants expired on individual properties, some homeowners overtook garden spaces by installing driveways or fencing off portions of the open courts, enlarging their private yards. Still, the great majority of neighbors adhered to the original ideal of open space. Sunnyside Gardens was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 In 2007, when the neighborhood was designated a New York City Historic District
Radburn- "Town for the Motor Age" LOCATION- Radburn is located within the Borough of Fair Lawn, Bergen County, New Jersey, 12 miles from New York City. ARCHITECTS- Clarence Stein and Henry Wright BUILT IN 1929 POPULATION-There are approximately 3100 people - some 680 families living in Radburn. HOUSING-Housing consists of 469 single family homes, 48 townhouses, 30 two family houses, a 93 unit apartment complex and 10 condominium units
RadburnSalient Features The primary innovation of Radburn was the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. This was accomplished by doing away with the traditional grid-iron street pattern and replacing it with the superblock. A pedestrian underpass and an overpass, linking the superblocks, were provided over streets with vehicular traffic. Another innovation of Radburn was that the parks were secured without additional cost to the residents. The savings in expenditures for roads and public utilities at Radburn, as contrasted with the normal subdivision, paid for the parks.
Impact of the Radburn idea As the country struggled out of the Depression, the influence of the Radburn Idea was first reflected in the various Greenbelt communities of the Resettlement Administration and later, in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles and Kitimat. B. C. The Idea then showed up in England and later in Sweden at Vallingly, the huge Stockholm suburb; at the Baronbackavna Estate, Orebro and at the Beskopsgaden Estate, Goteborg. It was in post world War II England that Radburn achieved generic status. The "Radburn Plan", the "Radburn Idea", the "Radburn Layout" appeared first at Coventry and later at Stevenage, Bracknell and Cumbernauld. It has since spread to Chandigarh, India; to Brazil; to several towns in Russia and to a section of Osaka, Japan. The Japanese community is almost an exact duplicate of Radburn. The "Idea" finally returned to the United States at Reston, Virginia and Columbia, Maryland. Several towns since have been modelled after the "Radburn Plan". Brazilia and the capital of New Zealand have consciously implemented Radburn-based concepts
Conclusion Complete disregard for housing standards and desire for profit regardless of the exploitation it entailed had produced high density, excessive land coverage and decidedly bad housing. The theory that these evils were essentially good business was exploded. Good planning was discovered to be an effective instrument to complete with bad planning. When laws were enacted to curb irresponsible building of slums, the road was cleared for good planning with financial benefits as well as the restoration of positive social values. The period of activity during the 20s and early 30s did not solve our urban housing ills but did provide a foundation upon which future progress could be continued. Building companies became conscious of the advantage of investment in housing. Large scale planning opened the opportunity for arranging building on the land so that all dwellings were well located. As a permanent investment such factors were important, and good planning was becoming good investment. Good planning built in permanent value.