Urban Spaces and Architecturally Defined Identity in Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts
Urban informality challenges the formalisation of the current design and planning with action, which can contribute to defining perspectives for the city. The power of the sovereign founds the law, but at the same time is. Urban Spaces and Architecturally Defined Identity in Nathanael West's Miss . are decidedly inseparable since our very existence is defined in time and space. The crucial aspect of the relationship between the “lived bodies” and spaces is . He argued that movement, especially time, provide urban spaces a dynamic people׳s attitudes about the world and the way they define their relationship to the.
He walks through a shadow of a lamppost and envisions its spear-like resemblance piercing his body. Being symbolically pierced by a spear-shaped shadow, outside of its Christological connotation, intimates the depth of Miss Lonelyhearts conscious—or sub-conscious—awareness concerning the oppressiveness of his urban surroundings. The interurban backdrop that incorporates the park is what Lewis Mumford, in The Culture of Citiescategorizes as an outer physical realm; to absorb such spaces, the observer must successfully interface the outer with the inner: The linking of morality and architecture has found voice in the work of Le Corbusier and Giedion, specifically.
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The extent to which moral design can be implemented into architectural design has been hotly contested over the past century. Even so, Miss Lonelyhearts designs to resuscitate the irreparable park, to revive it for his purpose of providing a sanctuary from the menacing megalopolis.
His passing thoughts, provided by the omniscient narrator, integrate a conscious awareness of the creation and destruction of space, generated through architectural design. He perceives spatial diseases, which are initially conceived abstractly as an available void…. Eventually, space itself becomes a subject. As far as he could discover, there were no signs of spring.
The decay that covered the surface of the mottled ground was not the kind in which life generates. Last year, he remembered, May had failed to quicken these soiled fields.
It had taken all the brutality of July to torture a few green spikes through the exhausted dirt. What the little park needed, even more than he did, was a drink.
Neither alcohol nor rain would do. To-morrow, in his column, he would ask… his correspondents to come here and water the soil with their tears. Flowers would then spring up [. Space, and the contemplation of space, leads the thinker down a hazardous avenue.
The sickness in Miss Lonelyhearts is intensified by the sickness he sees in the park, onto which he imagines placing a healing hand.
Its initial function is metaphorical, employed by Shrike, the newspaper director, who apathetically counsels Miss Lonelyhearts on how to influence his readership: Returning to the park later in the narrative, Miss Lonelyhearts inspects his surroundings from a park bench. From his position he turned his trained eye on the skyscrapers that menaced the little park from all sides.
In their tons of forced rock and tortured steel, he discovered what he thought was a clue. Americans have dissipated their radical energy in an orgy of stone breaking. In their few years they have broken more stones than did centuries of Egyptians.
And they have done their work hysterically, desperately, almost as if they knew that the stones would some day break them.
By considering the manipulation of stone, West is in many respects giving voice to a protest against what Le Corbusier defines as a revolution in architecture. The history of Architecture unfolds itself slowly across the centuries as a modification of structure and ornament, but in the last fifty years steel and concrete have brought new conquests, which are the index of a greater capacity for construction, and of an architecture in which the old codes have been overturned.
Instead, the revolution in style conceivably produces an erasure of human interconnections. The individual man, then, is tossed through the sea of a disjointed civilization: Scarcely anyone can escape the unbalanced development which it encourages. Le Corbusier and Giedion propose advancements in architectural design to readjust, so to speak, contemporary man to his environment.
Placing the speakeasy in the basement of a house displaces this hyper-masculine domain, generating a disparity between the physical environment of the house and the social backdrop. InGerman architect Bruno Taut intimated that architectural design could advance intellectual capacity: Taut suggests that architecture itself may generate, from a tabula rasa, meaningful social value for the occupants of various architectural spaces.
The house, in a sense, has been misappropriated for ulterior motives. The necessity of stability surfaces when examining the brownstone house with the armored door—as well as the seclusion from the street—create the allusion of constancy as demonstrated through the patrons of the speakeasy. The social space of the barroom operates more as a failed murky sanctuary where the male patrons endeavor to separate overlapping social spaces from their idealized masculine domain.
Here, they attempt to arrest the reality that, in their opinion, the external world is becoming increasingly less male-dominated and homogenous—daring to suggest the gang rape of transgressing females. Bachelard alludes to the Freudian postulation that the cellar is where our painful experiences are repressed and stored by the unconscious; in the cellar, the unspeakable may be enacted. The cellar atmosphere assumes negative characteristics through retaining the dysfunctionality inherent in a masculine-dominated society.
The underground space delivers to the men the needed allusion of stability from which they can grasp onto their meager inner life. The geometrical shapes replace the dancers, eradicating their individuality by confining them to transmuting rigid forms. Before he can apologize, the man punches Miss Lonelyhearts, sending him the floor and leaving him to nurse a bruised head.
Unhomely Space 21Unlike the city park and the speakeasy, the home of the protagonist would ideally function as a personal environment; yet, in this defined space, he achieves no reprieve from the outside world. The apartment space appears early in the novella and eventually serves as the backdrop for the climatic action.
Far from a sparing safe-haven, it resembles an oppressive chancel-like residence: Both Heidegger and Bachelard consider the house, or dwelling, existing in a relatively secluded place, so as to be fortified against other urban spaces. Home for Miss Lonelyhearts fails to achieve a stabilizing peace of the mind.
Everything had to form a pattern: The mental impact of the urban environment, Simmel argued inrequires an ability to manage the subjectivity of the modern environment: Comprehending his outer environment has noticeably failed, developing in Miss Lonelyhearts a neurotic fetish for controlling his inner, personal spaces. Within the urban structure, the square has the role of a coordinating element, is environment to it that in the majority of occasions establishing guidelines that will shape and position to the lots and streets of a particular area within the city.
That is why the Plaza enjoys a privileged location, standing next to important buildings government buildings, churches, markets, shopping centers, etc. However, there are also cases in which the squaresare the result of residual spaces between the positioning of the walls and the streets, taking forms very irregular, but that similarly have a major role to play as a space for meeting and recreation of the inhabitants.
The success in terms of the occupation and use of a square not always has to do with its size or shape, is also related to the link of identity that establishes with the inhabitants, which will depend on those aspects that may reflect a social-historical memory of the site, as well as the spaces individuals with that count for the meeting and the permanence of the people.
Source as atractorde activities. Square of the Republic, Mexico City. Within the spatial configuration of the square there are various elements that help to establish certain activities and uses, leading to different intensities of occupation and transit, these elements are: Spatial Perception of seclusion within the square. Plaza Mayor of Madrid, Spain. The activities and uses that are developed within a plaza conducive to the sense of community and ownership among the inhabitants, these activities range from the congregation of people to enjoy a public spectacle, until the permanence and contemplation of the environment.
The plaza is presented as the nodal urban space and the articulator within the city that allows the recreation, the encounter and the social interaction, and at the same time makes possible the generation of links of identity between the inhabitants and the city. The park is a space designed and planned for the recreation and leisure of the inhabitants within the city, together with the street and Plaza is an essential part within the urban structure. The park is presented as the space that manages to mitigate the environmental and visual congestion produced by the buildings and cars.
Spatially, like the plaza, the park can be defined as the resulting from the walls and the streets around an outdoor space delimited, however, the main differences that exist with the square lies in the elements that integrate it, its location, the activities and the uses developed within them.
The elements that integrate spatial configuration are: The Parks in some occasions can operate in the same way as the squares, as a space of congregation but on a smaller scale, since these, few times account with sufficient spaces and free of furniture or vegetation for hosting and concentrating large numbers of people. Leisure and recreation of the inhabitants.
Deer Park, Mexico City. The location of the park can be considered of secondary importance compared to the square, since it is presented as a complementary space of an environment surrounded by houses, shops, markets, churches, etc.
Regularly these spaces succeed in establishing linkages of identity with the inhabitants to allow the development of recreational activities. The range of activities and uses that can be performed within the park is very wide, either directly with the contact and dialog between the people or indirectly through the simple observation of the environment.
The perception that the inhabitants have the park will depend on the elements that integrate it, acquiring greater importance the leisure areas and the type of vegetation present, giving a specific character to the place.
Without doubt the parks along with the gardens, beyond allow a wide diversity of activities and uses, make it possible to provide the city of natural spaces, that allow a environmental regulation, helping to counteract the effects of stress of the everyday and urban monotony for the inhabitants. The gardens arise as spaces for rest and contemplation for the inhabitants within the city.
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Are spaces between buildings that necessarily contain vegetation, and it usually occupies the greater part or the whole of the surface that includes the garden, however, as in the case of the park, there is not a proportion or density of the vegetation which should occupy the space.
The garden as a place of rest and contemplation. Garden of the Church of the Conception, Mexico City. Within the spatial configuration of the garden there are items such as: Planters, trails, sources, monuments, etc.
In this type of vegetation area occupies the greater part of the land and only for pedestrian areas with some type of flooring and seating areas that can count with furniture as sources, pergolas or seats. Vertical garden to the contemplation of the inhabitants.
The elements that integrate spatially the garden together with its vegetation will determine the nature and the perception that the inhabitants have of it. If the vegetation covers a large part of the space in both height and surface, the space will have a character of protection against climatic conditions sun, wind, rain, etc.
These are outdoor spaces that generally complement any building or group of buildings churches, markets, public buildings, etc. As well as the parks, the gardens allow decongest saturation that presents the urban condition smog, noise, visual pollution, etc. In fact, the first signs appear throughout the world from the primitive stories of peoples, and they all express the desire of the man of courting the friendship of nature. The Roundabout is an urban space part of the road system, regularly in circular form in plant, designed to facilitate the transit in a point of intersection of two or more tracks.
The roundabouts can be composed of various elements such as planters, esplanades, sources, monuments, etc. The dimensions and elements that make up a gazebo can vary from one case to another, however, there is commonly some element that allows its particular identification sources, monuments, sculptures, etc. The roundabouts particularly as urban spaces taken on many occasions the role of plaza, concentrating various public events and popular congregation for relevant facts, identifying themselves by the inhabitants as a nodal point and high representativeness collectively.
The roundabouts to have a referential space condition within the city, are constantly subjected to maintenance and cleaning, appearing as an urban space nice for the inhabitants. These few times can be considered pedestrian spaces of transit everyday, given its contextual conditions as space surrounded by roadways, being as an island in the middle of vehicular traffic such ashappens in some cases with the windrowsso that pedestrians perceive a far, recognizing only those elements that stand out within the urban profile that it generates.
Roundabout of the Angel of Independence, Mexico City. Spatially the pedestrian bridge is linear not necessarily straight, delimited by two parapets along its sides, finding in their ends or in some cases in their journey, elements of vertical circulation as; ladders, ramps and elevators.
In the majority of cases it is located as the only vertical circulation the ladder, since many bridges were designed prior to therules of current accessibility of almost any city in the world, which often hinders their accessibility for some inhabitants, situation that combined with the lack of culture for its use as a space that seeks to prevent accidents, leaves the pedestrian bridge as a space of oblivion within the city and that tends to disappear.
A large part of the pedestrian bridges that exist in the City of Mexico lack of optimal conditions for its operation, which fosters their gradual deterioration and their use as spaces of vandalism and insecurity, being the perfect haven for criminals to commit criminal acts, being perceived in this case the pedestrian bridge as a space insecure, when its role is otherwise, provide security. Deterioration and vandalism in the pedestrian bridges.
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Also there are cases in which the pedestrian bridges are extremely busy, since they are virtually the only movement from one point to another of the city, however, there are few cases in which these have optimal conditions for its accessibility and operation, posing a risk of accidents to the users, without which these have other alternatives of transit.
Pedestrian bridges that have a transit of users constant regardless of their conditions of accessibility and operation are conducive to the voluntary or involuntary contact between the inhabitants, establishing activities and uses other than simple transit, as depending on its dimensions and context, may be generated commercial activities, rest, spacing between others.
The visual impact that the pedestrian bridges has in a given area is important because it is a structure of considerable dimensions that is set within the urban image, therefore, not only suffice to establish conditions of accessibility and operation for use, but that it should also take into account the integration and dialog with the other urban elements streets, buildings, reliefs topographic, etc.
So the pedestrian bridge can be understood as a league that allows the continuity to a given journey, connecting in many occasions city areas not otherwise pluggable for pedestrians. The vehicular bridge is a structure of great dimensions that emerges as an urban element that helps make more efficient the automobile traffic within the city.
This type of spaces, as its name indicates are designed for vehicles, however, there are also bridges that include pedestrian areas, which we can define as bridges are mixed.
Spatially, bridges are defined as roadways high variable lengths not necessarily straight, being targeted in their sides by parapets that provides security to cars, counting in turn at the ends with ramps that allows you to get on and off depending on the case of traffic flow. Under bridges regularly spend tracks, which gives them a greater character of distributor of vehicular flows, however, it is common to generate empty spaces resulting from the structure of the bridge and the separation of the roadwayswhich in some cases have been designed so that the inhabitants make specific activities mainly recreationaland many other times left to flounder, being in the best of cases suitable for the establishment of vendors with commercial activities, andin the worst of cases, refuge of criminals, drug addicts, the homeless, etc.