The plans included in this report were especially drawn by James Gil Cooper, a member of the Pompeii Forum Project.


Pompeii has intrigued us ever since its disinterrment began more than two centuries ago. It deserves a place on any short list of truly attractive examples of good urban form. The lessons learned from the cities on that list form the mental equipment of those who believe there are general characteristics great cities share with one another.  

Those characteristics are as universal as the concepts that undergird our republic-that is, they are valid in all times and places, but since they are general principles they require the particularities of time and place to be made manifest. If they are always valid, they are valid now, and if we can formulate them clearly, they can guide those who build the places wherein we pursue our civil life today.


For three summers I explored Pompeii as a member of an interdisciplinary team investigating its buildings and urban character [1]. I then extended my investigations to other cities [2]. My larger program called for formulating specific suggestions about what we ought to be doing and not doing as we build in the magnetic green field fringes and rebuild in the wrecked brown field sites of present-day urban America [3].

My work was guided by two general principles about good urban form that I had formulated earlier [4]:

1. Politics is more important than architecture.

2. A building is first of all a modification of an existing urban setting.

These maxims have in common the idea that the whole-the city, the urban place-is more important than the piece-the building, the idiosyncratic, personal expression of an individual. If this is so, then it follows that the strongest forces operating in the process of designing buildings must be those that arise from the role the building is to play in the urban setting.

An urban setting is a place people build to serve their political ends. These political ends are always self-serving. That is, they acknowledge that the only way we can serve our individual goals and ambitions is to work with others. But if we are to be truly civil, our private and public actions must be motivated not only by self interest but by the highest and most noble understanding of individual and public character. The United States polity, after all, is a moral association of free and equal people based on certain unalienable truths and guaranteeing rights given by nature, not a contract outlining mutual benefits accruing to its signatories.

With this program and those two principles in mind, I surveyed five urban settings that have received general approbation over time, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson. In doing so, I reversed the usual preoccupation of the historian and concentrated on how their past is present in the present rather than on how we can see their past in their present.

Here are the five cities:

Pompeii, the ancient Roman city of 12,000 to 20,000 south of Naples damaged by an earthquake in AD 62 and covered in ash seventeen years later. We admire its urban character but we would not abide its politics which were neither liberal nor democratic.


So too Vigevano, a small Italian city located a little east of Milan, remodeled in the 1490s by Bramante and others. Swept away were a market, city hall and numerous buildings identified with the popular, late medieval communal government. In their place appeared an enlarged central square, now called a Forum, a new city hall hidden behind the arcade, and a continuous new arcade with two gaps, one emphasizing the cathedral at the narrow end, the other opening to the stairs ascending to the local ducal palace. Vigevano's center was now less the locus of the communal life than it was the forecourt to the castle of Lodovico "il Moro" Sforza, the Duke of Milan [5]. The scheme's admirable clarity and great charm can act as a powerful model for parts of American cities, but the political form it serves is entirely inappropriate for building a city in America.


The University of Virginia was intended by Thomas Jefferson to be a such a model, if not of a city then of a village with the special purpose of housing a university [6]. The enchanting Jeffersonian core continues to host special events, but the University's real work is done elsewhere, in buildings which are alienated both formally and physically from the Jeffersonian core [7].

The surviving core is a fragment of the original whole. It is notable that the number of people who provided for the physical needs of the students-construction workers, cooks, laundry women, janitors, and others, and the members of the families-probably equaled the number of students, faculty, and faculty family members. Where did they live? The research of Marie Frank has revealed that these essential members of the university community were in buildings laced within the University's familiar formal scheme but not shown in Jefferson's drawings or in the University's official plans [8]. The village's visible residents were the students living two in a room along the colonnades, the professors and their families residing in grand pavilions punctuating the colonnade, and the immortals enshrined as books in the Pantheon-library at the head of the University's body.

My final two examples are both older than the University.

Savannah, founded in 1733 [9], has a plan everyone knows [10]. Its subtle interweaving of ten or more parcel sizes, eight street types, and variations in block sizes forms a cellular structure originally intended to serve its political structure. A political ward or neighborhood was the basic unit. This was composed of family house plots gathered around a square with a complement of institutional structures, some serving the ward, others reaching outward to embrace a larger territory, but none occupying a commanding position over the town as a whole.

Now disrupting that eighteenth century scheme is the enlarged scale and functional dispersion of modern commercial, political, institutional, and other urban activities. Furthermore, the original cellular scheme has now been overlain with linear schemes allowing the mechanized transportation we value to challenge the cellular life intended for the original plat. In Savannah I focused on Bull Street running from City Hall to Forsyth Park, a strip where the cellular holds its own against the linear and where civility is still possible.

Santa Barbara provides a useful west coast counterpoint to Savannah [11]. Its eighteenth-century grid is a plan familiar to everyone, although here the blocks are rather large. The present century ushered in its first sustained expansion. A Spanish, or "Mediterranean," theme was already popular among some circles in town when the city was badly damaged by the 1925 earthquake. Since then construction has followed the general guidelines of the "Mediterranean" theme.

Very different politically, urbanistically, and architecturally, these five places yield some simple rules of design that can be used in current practice as we modify and expand our American urban areas. I shall present them in turn, illustrating them with pertinent material from the five examples.

1. Commerce must always be civilized.

Commerce builds markets, not cities. Markets serve private interests, not the public interest. Markets promote a private good, not the public good.

But political activity is impossible without the prosperity markets make possible. Prosperity provides the leisure required to pursue civil ends. Civil ends can be corrupted by too dominant a place for commercial activity and too great a desire for prosperity. The end of the market is living abundantly; the end of the city is living nobly and well. To reach that end, the commercial life must be civilized. That is, the places where commerce transpires must be visibly subordinated to other, more important public, civil activities.


In Pompeii, the public, civil life consisted of religious, governmental, and domestic activities. These activities called into being the temples, shrines, fora, baths, theaters, arenas, and palestras, and the houses filling out the blocks. These are dominant. Meanwhile commerce transpired in the city's abundant supply of shops, bars, bakeries, and workshops without which no city can function. But note: these shops always occupied subordinate places within the larger physical framework of a building or complex serving a more important civil purpose than commerce itself served. In the residential areas, commercial activities were either placed in side streets as parts of lesser domestic buildings or complexes, or tucked into low shop fronts within the larger framework of a residential building. In the central forum area the Romans collected the shops that had lined and littered the forum itself and put them in a separate structure, the Macellum, attached to the Forum with an impressive frontage. The result was no mere shopping center but an important civil extension to the central civil forum. In these two ways, one along the streets, the other in the civic center, commerce was civilized.

In Vigevano, the presence of the Duke was made conspicuous at the expense of a subordinated commerce. His castle lorded it over the temporary weekly markets in the Forum while the permanent shops were banished to the umbrage of the arcades.

At the University of Virginia, commerce was simply banished from the formal precincts of the Grounds, although as we saw, it was allowed to lurk in the background.

In early Savannah, commerce was consigned to a district along the riverfront or tucked into buildings that were more domestic than commercial in aspect.

And in Santa Barbara, commerce forms a conspicuous presence in an identifiable strip, but the commercial buildings are interlaced with public buildings occupying a more important position. No one could mistake this commercial center for a mere shopping mall and much less for theme park devoted to shopping.


The same building components must be used in the public and the private realm and in both architectural and urban applications

Using components that are recognizably the same allows a continuity to be established between the public and the private, the architectural and the urban. Both the Italian and the American cities I surveyed for this study were built from the kit of parts belong to the classical tradition, and each city used the parts in ways that were distinctively local or regional. Thus, in each place, a column is identifiable as a column, but not a moment is required to distinguish between the columns typically found in each of the five different cities.

Individual examples of the building components, say, a particular column, can easily be identified as a member of a general class and as an example distinctive to a particular time and place. This is because all the parts belong to the same tradition with the same origins. Theorists from Vitruvius onward have explained that their origin is in nature, in the examples of her productions such as trees and in the essential figure of the human form, origins that have been interpreted in the artful practice of talented architects across time. In their final, finished form, these components are as different in first century Pompeii and twentieth century Santa Barbara as the food and the language of the two places are, but they are as recognizable as belonging to architecture as comestibles are to food and words are to speech.


What the continuity between the five cities tells us lies outside my present interest. Here my attention is on what benefits come from having a continuity in components within each city. That continuity allows like buildings to appear alike while allowing for distinctions between them. All buildings can be seen as parts of the same city while those serving more important purposes can stand out in the way statesmen stand out among the body of citizens. The traditional metaphoric expression of this idea considers the city to be a single body made of many members just as the buildings themselves were. In good urban and architectural design, the role the various members play and the relationship they have to one another in playing that role is clear. For example, in Pompeii, temples were not confused with houses, but both houses and temples formed part of the same architectural universe. In Santa Barbara a fire house and a private house have much in common, but the one, for example Fire House #3 (Edwards, Plunkett and Howell; 1929), could never be confused with the other, and both can be seen to be closely related to the City Hall and the County Court House which are clearly public buildings superior to the utilitarian fire house and the private residence.

These examples point out that the public life and the private life in a vivid city, and the buildings and parts of buildings serving those spheres of life, are intertwined and distinctive at the same time. The best parts of all five places take seriously the importance of establishing a modern use of traditional forms. In all five, people worked over time with a standard range of architectural components customarily and traditionally used in that place. None exemplifies an "international style;" all are distinctly regional, although all belong to the same general universe of forms.

And in each place, the same building components were used in both the private and architectural realm and in the public and urban one. When they are different, they are different in part simply because they are used in streets and open areas rather than in individual structures. That is, the setting itself makes them distinctive. But in addition, when used in public places, as part of the public realm, when dressing up public streets, intersections, and open areas and serving as the members of the religious or civic buildings or as the entrances to the houses of the most important citizens, the same elements are generally grander, richer, and more carefully finished then when they are used in private places or for commercial purposes. If they did not belong to the same body of traditional forms, those differences could not be easily assessed. Thus the message of the architecture is clear: That which connects things in the public realm to enhance the civil life is more important than that which allows things to be separated, hidden away, or secluded; the public is superior to the private.

3. Whatever is done beyond the center has its complement in the center

This is a complicated rule. It can be broken down into its parts.

One part requires that there be an identifiable center. The center of a city is the locus of the most intense pursuit of the civil ends of the place. Large cities need to be composed of lesser parts, called neighborhoods or quarters, spanning the distance of a twenty-minute walk or about a quarter-mile radius. Each quarter needs its own center while the city's center is clearly dominant among the others clustering around it.

In Pompeii, there were two or three such quarters. In the classic American city the public buildings--the public school, the church, the branch library, etc.-are usually more dispersed, but they are often accompanied by commercial facilities that help them serve as a center, even if a weak one, of a surrounding area. European cities generally illustrate this point better than American ones which have always tended to sprawl and disperse.

Another part of this rule recognizes that the complement to an act might not be the same kind of act-something done in the periphery might call forth a very different act in the center.

My illustrations are not based on documented examples but on what might have brought into existence that which is observable and thereby documentable:

In Pompeii, when a shrine is built in a neighborhood, a temple is built in the center. When a portal is remodeled on a dwelling, an entrance to a public place in the center is improved-not necessarily by the same person, but if the same person does both, he would achieve a certain civil renown.


In America, when a wealthy person builds a pool house at his residence, he might pay for expanding the central public library. When an ordinance is passed imposing design guidelines on buildings fronting neighborhood streets, more tightly drawn ones are framed for controlling the design of commercial frontages near the center of public life. When trees are planted at twenty-foot centers in the neighborhoods, they are similarly planted and supplemented with ground plantings in the center. And when a fire house is fitted in among other houses on a residential street, it can be linked to its public purpose by borrowing a building component from a superior public building and using it in an appropriately diluted form, as in the detail at the Fire House #3 which we saw earlier. Its stout corner post standing at the sidewalk and defining the margin between public and private lands has its complement in a similar but grander version of the same design element at the open corner of the block occupied by the Court House.

The fruits of following this rule produce good urban form, but only if followed over time. Cities are always time machines. They tell time; they tell what has happened over time. This third rule suggests that the product of time wisely spent in building in cities is the gradual accumulation of civil accoutrements into a dense collection supporting the civil life in the center and their lesser relatives less densely spread about in the other districts and neighborhoods of the city.

This observation has a corollary: the most important architect in urban design, as Ed Bacon pointed out [12], is the second architect, the architect who recognizes, as the general principle stated above put it, that "a building is first of all a modification of an existing urban setting." His task is to build on the basis of what he finds his predecessors had provided so that the city becomes a whole body made of many members and not a collection of disparate pieces.

These three rules were clearly in operation in all the best parts of the five cities reviewed here. When one or another of them was defied, the city suffered. Some examples:


Broughton Street scared Savannah when commerce got the upper hand [13]. This aggressive commercial strip bisected Bull Street, proclaiming its superiority to the neighboring civil, public, and residential buildings. To drive the point home, it used an inappropriate architecture, one owing more to current fashion than to a broader or more local architectural tradition. Now that that architecture is no longer in fashion, and now that commerce seeks prosperity in the distant suburbs, Broughton Street becomes an ever more embarrassing disfigurement to Savannah's civic realm.


In Santa Barbara the State of California building also betrays the civil order of things, not once but twice-over. First, its large size and its prominent siting across from County Court House suggest that the routinized procedures of bureaucracy are as important as the variety of legal protections and legislative and executive activities transpiring in the County Court House across the street. And second, its design shows a greater interest in beating the code than contributing to the urban order. It has more in common with a similarly disrespectful commercial building on nearby State Street than with the public buildings which are its civil relatives.

These buildings in Savannah and Santa Barbara betray the public trust. They do not honor the principal of the second architect, and they fail to honor the city in which they ought to be members contributing to the civic body.

These three rules, which were derived from an analysis of Pompeii, gave useful insights into the best in American practice. But they failed to account for one of the most important rules operating in American cities. Unlike traditional European cities, American cities occupy a landscape from which they are inseparable. Pompeii and Vigevano are walled off from their rural areas, and more walls separate gardens from public areas unless, as occurs in Pompeii, landscaped areas are set aside in separate precincts serving public purposes. Landscape is excluded from the public areas where the civil life is conducted. The Forum in Pompeii and its latter-day reincarnation in princely Vigevano are paved; anything growing there is a weed [14].

In America it is just the opposite: the most intensely public parts of the three American examples are also the most carefully landscaped. The central area of Jefferson's academical village at the University of Virginia is a plane of grass, a greensward made all the richer by its partial architectural enclosure. So important to the identity of the University is that greensward that the original Jeffersonian complex is called The Lawn.

This is a commons, the most civil and public place in the academical village. It forms the final commentary on the role of architecture in giving shape and utility to an otherwise useless wilderness, a commentary beginning in the wilderness of distant mountains and running through the cultivated fields of the surrounding farms and reaching into the vegetable and ornamental gardens enclosed within the serpentine walls and lying just below the greensward on the spine of the rising landscape.

The architectural embodiment of Jefferson's design reinforces this intimate connection between landscape and architecture and the gradation from wilderness to civility. The brick pier arcades of the outer, more utilitarian ranges face the farms and wilderness, the carefully crafted serpentine walls enclose the gardens, and in the gaps between the central lawn's enclosure a column is placed providing a linkage between the outside and the inside and the colonnades enclosing the lawn and the long green common itself.


This reciprocity between landscape and architecture is fundamental in the American civil realm. A familiar early instance is the classic 1734 view of Savannah which projects what will become Bull Street across the otherwise untouched wilderness and leaves a few trees standing in what will become the city's common lands. Geometry and the urban plan, not a machine, will convert the wilderness to a civil garden; the machine will not get into the garden until the nineteenth century, and it will build Broughton Street as a garage. The tradition reaching back to the earliest colonial period continues: both Savannah and Santa Barbara in the present day and their relatives all across the country are as unimaginable without their abundance of grass, shrubs, flowers, and trees as Pompeii is without its Forum. This observation leads us to the fourth rule of good urban design, this time with special attention to America:

Landscape and architecture are always in a dynamic reciprocal relationship.

To make that relationship dynamic and reciprocal requires a special effort by the designer. But this is the case with any one of the four design rules: A design must always make clear that the principle of the second architect is in play.

The two general principles and four rules of design are inert things until put into action. Their activating force comes from the principle of the second architect. That is the person who must balance the separate demands of the architectural and the urban. These demands are often in conflict; architectural form has its demands, and so does urban form. As we know, it is a principal of nature that two demands of equal force cannot both be honored. In good urban form, and in good architectural form, one or the other must give way. But which one? The general principle stating that politics is more important than architecture tells us: since the urban is the physical form of the political, it follows that the urban must trump the architectural.

Well designed cities show that when the integrity of architectural form gives way, as it must, to the demands of urban design, the architectural design will be improved, in the same way that private acts done to contribute to the public realm improve the character of the person doing them. In giving way to the urban demands, the architectural does not loose its identity. It is merely deformed relative to its accustomed role in architectural settings.

Here we must note that for this deformation to be recognized, and thereby for the contribution of the architectural to the urban to be acknowledged and the superiority of the political over the architectural to be honored, there must be an accustomed form for a thing. Tradition establishes that accustomed form. Thus, only when architectural and urban design honor and embody tradition can there be a reciprocity between the two and an acceptance of the superiority of the urban over the architectural, of the political over the architectural, of the public over the private. To put it another way: only within traditional design can the architectural and urban interact to produce good urban form.

Good urban architecture, that is, good architecture in general, visibly embraces tradition, both the long-standing tradition linking current modern practice to its origins in the first imitations of nature that produced the earliest Greek architecture, and the local, regional forms embodied in any current practice. Briefly put: Good architecture depends on good detailing, and particularly on knowledgeable deformations of architectural traditions. The tell-tale evidence of architecture's obligation to urbanism will be found in this: Some necessary component will perform its normal task in a way that acknowledges its contribution to the urban setting. The detail may be small, but it will nonetheless assert the superiority of the urban over the architectural and reaffirm the hegemony of the political in architectural and urban issues. A useful term for such an element is a telling detail. Some examples follow.

A telling detail in Pompeii resolves an ambiguity in the spatial structure at the north end of the Forum [15]. Which adjacent area does the rectangular area on the flank of the Temple of Jupiter belong to? Is it an extension of the Forum, a forecourt to the arch beyond the temple, a forecourt to the Macellum which the Romans built to collect and organize the shops they removed from the perimeter of the Forum, or some artful combination of these?

A telling detail reveals that that area belongs both to the Forum and to the Macellum. That detail consists of a variation in the reach of the lower of the two steps leading from the colonnade level down to the forum level [16]. In the Macellum forecourt the step's tread is a little more than a foot deep. But at a point about eight inches into the forum beyond the front of the temple's rostrum (the dimension would have been less when the temple had its marble revetment) that tread is extended into the forum as an apron more than six feet broad. It holds this dimension around the entire forum but reverts to the narrower step on the opposite side of the forum. The effect is subtle but sharp; it allows what would have been a slot alongside the temple to become a largo within the precinct of the forum and also serve as a forecourt to the Macellum. When called upon to perform a major role within the urban structure, this step, a standard architectural component, does a great deal of work by the simple deformation of its accustomed dimension.


Jefferson's academical village has an important telling detail organizing the interplay between the enclosed Lawn and the extension to the outside. Within each of the long colonnades flanking the Lawn there are three gaps. These allow access to the alleys between the serpentine walls enclosing the gardens and beyond that to the distant landscape. In every case one of the colonnade's columns stands centered in the gap, thus revealing the colonnade's presence even from the outside. But in only one case are the gaps on opposite sides in line. Thus, only at one point, in the gaps nearest the Rotunda, can one see through to the outside on the other side. Made emphatic by the deformation in the spacing of the gaps and the undeformed alignment with the colonnade's Tuscan columns is the dynamic reciprocity between inside and outside, between what is most civic and urbane and that which is rural and rustic, between architecture and landscape.

In Savannah a trio of telling details helps the eighteenth-century cellular plan absorb the more recent demands of linear transportation systems [17].


One of these illustrates how the cellular and pedestrian can trump the linear and mechanized. Running the length of Bull Street is a sidewalk to which other things defer. Its brick-paved course defines the uses of the ground plane, even when it crosses the first major boulevard, Oglethorpe Avenue, two squares or six blocks inland from the riverfront at Bay Street. Here the pedestrian path continues in line with the sidewalk right across the macadam street pavement uninterrupted by the wide planting strip separating the opposing lines of traffic. Normally, the builders of these median strips have pedestrians step up onto the island and then step down again in response to the superiority of the street's design over that of the pedestrian's path; here we see the reverse.


The next two telling details are larger and more architectural. The large, Beaux Arts George F. Armstrong mansion built in 1916-19 (designed by Henrik Wallin) faces east across a relatively deep lawn toward Bull Street on the block between a lane and Forsyth Park which effectively acts as the inland termination of Bull Street. The mansion's frontality toward Bull Street is emphatic, but a colonnade quadrant serving as a telling detail running from the house toward Bull Street next to the lane captures a relationship for the house with the park without compromising the address it makes to the street. Three things happen here: The mansion belongs to Bull Street and therefore is connected to City Hall at the other end of that street; with equal clarity the quadrant connects the mansion to the park marking a change in scale in the city's cellular structure; and the mansion's frontality and setback firmly plant it in the block it occupies.


The final example is the impressive complex of John Holden Greene's Independent Presbyterian Church. Greene's tetrastyle portico from almost exactly a hundred years before the mansion, 1817-19 (altered by William G. Preston after a fire of 1891) rises into the city's tallest steeple, a cast iron replacement of the original. The sanctuary sits well back from Bull street in the center of the site between Oglethorpe Avenue and the lane to the south. The Church School Building, the product of a second architect, Charles Henry, in 1894, occupies the site between that lane and Chippewa Square. Its faces on both Bull Street and Hull Street (the north edge of Chippawa Square) are at the sidewalk line while the church is set well back, its front being nearly in line with the inner wall of the Sunday School.


The important telling detail here, used twice, is the indented, splayed corner of the Sunday School's walls with a single column set at the corner producing a monostyle in antis porch beneath the unsplayed roof structure. On the sanctuary side it inflects the Sunday school toward the Church's forecourt lawn, and on the opposite side it opens the complex up to Chippawa Square. The Sunday school therefore ties the church and the square together while preserving the discrete identity of the Church. The effect is the same here, mutatis mutantis, as that achieved by the quite different telling detail of the mansion seven blocks to the south [18].

Savannah's character was produced within the drawn-out time of the South, Santa Barbara's in the accelerated pace of the west. A group of buildings from the definitive third decade of this century address Santa Barbara's primary urban design problem: how to connect the large blocks that are something like 500 feet square across the gap of sixty or so feet carved out of them between the building faces.

Santa Barbara illustrates more clearly than Savannah another characteristic peculiar to American cities: the house is the fundamental building, it stands free in its landscape, and the farther west you go, the freer it stands [19]. This characteristic need not work against building good cities; indeed, in Santa Barbara, it is fundamental.


The most important building, and the most important house, in town, is the Santa Barbara County Court House, from 1925-29 (J. William Hersey, William Moser and Company) [20]. Standing free in its own block, its main wing faces west, a subsidiary wing faces south, and a short stump for the jail extends along the east side. All these building masses are set back beyond a "front yard" [21]. The rest of the jail side and all of the north side are left open to the street, but these too have front yards defined by a low curb beyond which is the vast open, landscape portion of the block where changes of level vaguely recall the second court house building that was razed when this one was completed.

The building illustrates how to link blocks across strong streets since the linkage across the street fronting the Court House (Anacapa Street) is stronger than the lure along Anacapa Street itself. The front portal is almost aligned (the almost is important; it would be dull were it directly aligned) with a gap between the public library and a parking garage (Downtown Parking Lot no. 7) leading to the interior court of the 1100 block. Within that block's interior is the back entrance to the art museum and the open-air areas of La Arcada Building (Myron Hunt; 1924) which has its own attractive open aisle reaching State Street, the main commercial corridor.



A variation on these techniques of defeating the street's dominance animates the slightly earlier City Hall (Sauter and Lockard, 1922-23) located four blocks to the south. A relatively small building sited midway along the north edge of its block, it makes its presence known by bringing its wall to the curb line and slipping the sidewalk through a pier arcade. The entrance is sheltered by the similar arcade along the west side which defines part of the side of an open plaza, De La Guerra Plaza, whose design was formulated over time and finally given its definitive form by the Olmsted Brothers and Charles N. Cheney in 1924 [22]. (It is interesting that this plaza is roughly the size of the forum in Pompeii.) Here we find two elements unique in this city: no other building extends over the sidewalk [23], and no other block is opened up with a plaza having a wide-open connection to the street. These two elements have the power of giving the small city hall a prominence equal to that of the other government buildings, all of them larger: the County Court House, the United States Post Office [24], the former post office which is now the Santa Barbara Museum of Art [25], and the lamentable State of California building.

The plaza is artfully inserted into the city's grid. Its interior termination is the News Press Building (George Washington Smith, 1924; tower by Edwards and Wade, 1951). Opposite it and across the street is the De La Guerra Adobe, a venerable survivor from 1819-26 whose shallow U fronts the plaza with its center slightly west of the plaza's centerline-again, the lack of precise alignment inhibits sterility. A 13 1/2 foot gap opening into the so-called "Street in Spain," a cheerfully designed arcade of shops, gives access to the revered El Paseo Arcade (begun in 1922 by James Osborne Craig who died soon thereafter) within that block [26]. That gap is aligned with the wide apron between the City Hall and the plaza's driveway. At that gap a telling detail helps connect the plaza with the block's interior. It is a simple recession of the face of the building next to the gap (it is the end wall of the shops along the "Street of Spain") and a ground plane planting bed enriched with foliage, the two together providing that side of the street with its only greenery and heralding the greater recession and rich, controlled planting of the "Street of Spain" and the block's interior [27].

Many of the State Street blocks, the principal commercial strip in Santa Barbara, follow El Paseo's pattern and open themselves up to interior commercial uses [28]. For them to be successful, there must be a strong draw into the block. The telling detail we have just seen provides one model for how to do this; on State Street there is another.


That detail is in the change of scale and in the way the conventional elements are assembled. Most of the buildings along State Street have parapets or other wall treatments obscuring the roof, and the openings at ground level are one story high. The State Street entrance to El Paseo is marked by a prominent pitched tile roof, and it is both two stories high and quite wide. Completing the invitation inward are the carefully contrived bevels in the display windows in the pair of shops turning the corner into the inner promenade from the sidewalk along the commercial artery.


A final example of victory over the lure of traffic channels is on the east side of the 1200 block of State Street. Most of the block's interior is a surface parking lot accessible from State Street through a gap between buildings [29]. To draw people into the block's interior a simple timber arbor extends from the building face across the sidewalk to the planters blocking sidewalk access to the curb. A profusion of colorful buergeonvilla obscures the arbor's humility while enriching the vista along the sidewalk. That parking lot will take us back to the County Court House since it is oriented with open sides on the south towards the 1100 block where there is a propylaea-like entrance structure with masonry piers holding a timber arbor. It points from the lot directly across the street to the open passages centered in the block and serving the library, museum, and La Arcada buildings and with the open passages leading to the Court House portal next to the tower.

What can we learn from Pompeii, and from Vigevano, the University of Virginia, Savannah, Santa Barbara, and any number of other examples of good urban form? That if one wishes to live well he must build well, that the urban serves and facilitates the civil, that the architectural is continuous with the urban, that the urban and architectural exist within the landscape, that the urban trumps the architectural, and that building a city requires respect for tradition, that it alters that tradition, that it takes time, and that a city is never finished.


The important role the church and Sunday school play in the public life of the city, that is, in the complex interaction of the political, the architectural, and the urban, can be portrayed with remarkable clarity because its design, like the design of the city as a whole, is couched within the traditional conventions of classical architecture interpreted over time to produce distinctive regional characteristics [30]. Note that the Sunday School Building, which is closer to the public way, is the more orthodox design yet it is inferior to the church; the church, which is more public in its purpose, is the more richly developed. This richness is concentrated on the front in the pediment and is the product of inventive departures from traditional conventions. These departures are acceptable because they occur well beyond the public way, squarely within a private domain, and because they are recognizable contributions to the rich traditional formal conventions permeating the buildings and urban elements of the entire city. The siting, the design details, and the careful interaction between this pair of buildings illustrates the principle of the second architect. John Holden Greene, after all, was second architect relative to the Bull Street corridor, and Charles Henry was second architect to Greene [31].


Another instance of a linkage across potentially disruptive streets is quite recent. It is in the design of the recently completed Paseo Nuovo which stretches for two blocks along the west side of State Street at the end of De La Guerra Street. Its design exploits an oddity in the city's regular grid. De La Guerra is slightly north of the mid distance between the parallel streets to the north and south, a condition continued for only one more block to the east and apparently caused by the presence of the Presidio there. The regular disposition was restored on the west side of State Street. Thus, De La Guerra always jogged at State, and when it was abandoned to provide the superblock for the Paseo Nuovo, there were no subterranean infrastructure requirements preventing construction of a design feature terminating the De La Guerra vista. It is a tower rising slightly above the building's mass with a hipped tile roof above a clock above a tri-partite window above a broad-arched entrance. This solid element is as successful in suggesting an interior for the block as the gap leading into the original Paseo is. But there is more: The key to this tower's success is that it stands slightly north of the street's centerline thereby suggesting that just as there is something important beyond the portal, so too is there something important along the State Street which it fronts.