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10 (More) Neighborhoods That Influenced U.S. Architecture

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Last week, we looked at 10 neighborhoods that made a profound impact on American architecture, from popularizing a particular housing type to pioneering new ideas of urban planning. After reading the feedback we received, it's clear that 10 isn't enough. After talking with Curbed editors and consulting experts, such as Barbara Pahl of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we're adding 10 more significant areas to the list, from a historic seaside town with an envious collection of Colonial architecture to one of the birthplaces of Craftsman-style homes. There's certainly more to choose from, but these places should all be part of the conversation.

Lafayette Park: Detroit, Michigan
Post-war urban renewal is sadly littered with numerous examples of planned communities that push utopian visions, yet create darker realities. This sleek, modernist neighborhood, designed by Mies van der Rohe, landscape architect Alfred Caldwell, and developer Herbert Greenwald, offers a shining example of how a well-planned development can work for the city and those who live inside. While it tragically required the demolition of the Black Bottom neighborhood before it could be built, this series of courtyard houses, co-ops and high-rises is both well-integrated and well-connected to the rest of Detroit. As Curbed critic Alexandra Lange observed, despite being built between 1956 and 1963, "its location and its landscape suggest ways of living in a city that are totally current."

Silver Lake: Los Angeles, California
The streamlined profiles and glass facades of modern architecture abound in sunny Los Angeles, from the constellation of iconic Case Study homes to the grand designs captured by the lens of Julius Shulman. But this neighborhood, a bohemian area that grew up around an old reservoir, showcases modernism's early years and contemporary experiments, often on the same street. Richard Neutra's office, as well as work by Rudolph, Ain, Schindler and others, provide context for the modern homes and offices inspired by the style these architects pioneered. (Thanks to commenter Chapps for the suggestion).



Old City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When a neighborhood boasts the oldest continuously inhabited street in the country—in this case, Elfreth's Alley, which Philadelphians called home starting in 1702—it's bound to have significant architecture. Colonial-era icons such as Independence Hall, finished in 1753, make this former commercial district a magnet for tourists. But it's the everyday structures, from the Georgian-style Christ Church, crowned with a massive steeple that was the tallest structure in the United States for decades, to the warehouses and shops of workers and artists (likely redeveloped in this trendy neighborhood) that give this area its unique character.

Vieux Carre: New Orleans, Louisiana
There's often too much activity in the French Quarter to allow for a quiet, meditative stroll. But any chance to tour the side streets and quieter areas of the raucous neighborhood should be taken, as the architecture here, a blend of Spanish, French and Creole styles, from the cast-iron balconies to walled gardens, are inviting. Landmarks such as the Cabildo and Presbytere exemplify the eclectic influences that turned New Orleans into a cultural and architectural melting pot.

Brooklyn Heights: Brooklyn, New York
In many stretches on Manhattan, especially Midtown, you can find an iconic building or skyscraper on every corner. But as far as residential architecture goes, few things have come to symbolize the city (and its gentrification boom) as much as the Brooklyn brownstones built in the later half of the 19th century. Constructed with sandstone facades and often sporting a steep staircase, a relic of times when the streets were much dirtier, these multi-story townhomes often form the backdrop of an idyllic, tree-lined New York street photo. Much like similar structures in other cities, such as Chicago's greystones, they're coveted real estate; other nearby neighborhoods, such as Park Slope and Cobble Hill, have equally large stocks of similar structures.

Savannah Historic District, Savannah, Georgia
The country's largest historic preservation district, encompassing the antebellum borders of this Southern capital, contain multitudes of historic structures between Spanish-moss-draped trees, from the First African Baptist Church to the Old Harbor Light. The classic architecture on display offers an eminently agreeable excuse for a stroll, aided by the spacious streets and open spaces, both benefits of the Oglethorpe Plan. This ahead-of-its-time town planning concept, which resulted in a spaced-out, proportioned streetscape, has given Savannah a reputation as the nation's first planned community.

Greenwich Village and Soho: New York City, New York
In many ways, it's not just what Soho and the Village, a hub for culture and activism for decades that literally and figuratively veered off the grid from the rest of Manhattan, stands for, but the fact that they're still standing in their present form at all that makes them an interesting case study in preservation. Sure, gentrification has changed the character (and cost) of this bohemian capital, but it would have changed much more quickly had city planner Robert Moses's plan for the Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) not been blocked by Jane Jacobs and other activists. While the buildings in these neighborhoods may not be as influential as others cited in this list, they stand for an important idea about preserving cities that has resonated across the country.

Newport, Rhode Island
The seaside town on the Atlantic may be best known for its Gilded Age mansions and summer homes, but the architecture here runs a lot deeper than the ostentatious estates of industrialists. Gothic Revival, Shingle Style, and Beaux-Arts cottages and homes abound, and the city boasts the most intact colonial era buildings of any place in the country. It's perhaps the only place where you can explore magnificent architecture, such as Trinity Church, and then get a beer at the White Horse Tavern, which was built in 1673.




Columbus, Indiana
When it comes to architectural quality, it's rare that a small town can hold its own with some of the nation's biggest cities. But this Midwestern city with a population of roughly 45,000, called a modernist Mecca, has the work of more midcentury icons than metropolises 20 times its size. J. Irwin Miller, head of Cummins Engine Company, famously said that "mediocrity is expensive," and lived up to that credo by hiring Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, and Harry Weese, among others, to design public buildings throughout the city. His vision and patronage turned the streets of Columbus into an architectural museum.

Park Place-Arroyo Terrace Historic District: Pasadena, California
The bungalow, a modest descendent of the Arts and Crafts movement, is a quintessential American home type; examples can be found in nearly every town in the country. This California neighborhood offers a number of riffs on that style, the most important being the pioneering work of Arts and Craft architects Charles and Henry Greene, who took the style to it's apex, according to many, with the nearby Gamble House.

10 Neighborhoods That Influenced US Architecture [Curbed}