Committee on Design

 View Only

Community HTML

Via Aequalitas

Quick Links

Who we are

The Committee on Design (COD) was founded to promote design excellence among members of the AIA, the broader design community, and the public at large, both nationally and internationally.

2022 COD Conferences

The next domestic conference is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 thru Sunday, October 23 in Los Angeles.  An international conference is not planned for 2022 or 2023.

Being Architect: Lessons from the Past - When Downtown Living Was Brought Back to Cities

  • 1.  Being Architect: Lessons from the Past - When Downtown Living Was Brought Back to Cities

    Posted 03-28-2022 04:09 PM

    Being Architect: Lessons from the Past - When Downtown Living Was Brought Back to Stuttgart 

    It took the City of Stuttgart, Germany (population 634,800) a full 45 years to continue a good urban planning step they took in 1977. Even though Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes Benz and Porsche, is frequently seen as some kind of  Mo-town of Germany, 45 years are a long time since the then chief planner, supported by his Mayor, had recognized that Stuttgart had gone too far with creating a car centric city. 

    The saying is, that the the hubris of Stuttgart's post war traffic planners brought as much devastation to the city as the bombs of World War II. Quite a verdict, given how terribly devastated the city was in 1945. The matter is somewhat personal: The remnants of of this dual destruction are still burnt into my memory from the time when I started observing the city during walks at the hand of my mother and from the seat of a streetcar some 68 years ago, 9 years after the bombs had stopped falling. I was 4 years old then, old enough for tiny seeds of interest in buildings, streetcars and city planning seeping into my young mind.  (These early experiences also amplify the current horror of seeing perfectly fine Ukrainian cities being reduced to rubble).

    Stuttgart streetcar in postwar Stuttgart
    (Archive: Stuttgarter Nachrichten)
    Hardly any street in a large German city cuts through the city as brutally as the B 14 in Stuttgart. The contrasts in the capital of Baden-Württemberg are correspondingly large: on one side of the main road, the old castle, the historic market hall and the glittering shopping mile with the posh Breuninger department store. And opposite on the other side of the B 14 is the dingy backyard of the Stuttgart-Mitte district. (Handelsblatt 23.06.2019)

    Back to 1977, when after some 32 years demolition and large scale urban renewal were replaced with careful infill and quality urban living in historic quarters. By that time I had become a local....


    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
    Join another community by clicking here! Connect with others who share your passions and interests.