NOTES ON DESIGNS
Typescript in Australian Archives, ACT, Series CP487/6/1, Item 1.This description of a plan by an unidentified competitor indicates that it combined grid and radial streets to produce blocks that were square and hexagonal. Perhaps the author had come across the published proposals for the hexagonal system by the Austrian, Rudolf Muller or the American, Charles Rollinson Lamb. One competitor whose plan has survived used the hexagonal pattern, but in all other respects this description fails to fit that design.
SURFACE ZONEThe planning of the city is rectangular, except where hexagonal blocks intervene, which do not alter the rectangular system adopted for the working of the tram lines which play a prominent and useful function in the original ideas for which the city is planned. THOROUGHFARESThe thoroughfares which are marked on the contour maps consist of: boulevards of 200 feet in width; avenues 125 feet; parallel and intermediate streets to avenues 100 feet; hexagonal streets 80 feet; lanes to give access in to the building block and its common 18 feet; (for pedestrian and tram lorry only) and arcades in the middle of the facade 15 feet, (for pedestrians only) these constitute the whole thoroughfares, the divisions of them are marked on diagrams. BUILDING BLOCKSThe building blocks are of two kinds: the square, and the hexagonal, and both contain a small Park or Common which is designed for the purpose of abolishing the slum and congested kernel which exists in the best parts of many cities, and by being out of view has not been noticed so far. They very often habour vice, provide a day shelter for the night prowlers.
When a front building or shop is pulled down one can view its ugliness that is a disgrace to any civilisation. The wide street may shift the slum, but the centre of the block on them is very often a residue of it.
By excluding the vehicular traffic this common can serve many functions; it can be a safe play-ground; necessary to develop the physique of the child; relieve the mothers during some part of the day of their little toddlers, whom she must drag if she goes on an errand, or chance an accident if she leaves them at home. By paying a few pence weekly the whole block can maintain a careful nurse to take charge of them and deliver them to the mother when she wants them. It can be a mental relief to the adult, supply a Labor Bureau, hold Offices for statistics and a Registry of the inhabitants, and many others too long to enumerate. Moreover, the Designs provide a market, a chapel, a Public Hall for lectures, election speeches, and social rendezvous in the evening. It allows plenty fresh air into the surrounding dwellings; answers the main argument against tram monopoly of heavy traffic, by providing a place for the unloading of goods and parceld from tram lorries during any time of the day or the night, without any danger to life and limb, and avoid the congestion which would prevail in the street's traffic, if the monopoly is carried out, with the present tram lines. In fact it gives many possibilities if kept for useful, healthy and beauteous purposes.
With the above idea in view the building block is of convenient size viz: 450 feet on each facade. It contains approximately a little over four acres and a half, includes, by allowing 50 feet for depth of building and balcony, 350 feet by 350 feet for a Common.
The hexagonal blocks are of two kinds; four triangular ones, and two rhomboids, and while naturally smaller than the square blocks, (by being nearly three acres in area), their total frontages are 1610 feet for the triangular, and 1400 feet for the rhomboid respectively, besides it allows a sufficient Common as well.
TRAM LINESThe tram lines in the present planning has the monopoly of the heavy traffic within the city, and abolishes the present system; with its lorries shooting at any angle, protruding timber, iron rails and other materials to the danger of foot and tram passengers, that jeopardizes the safety and impedes the free access of the lighter traffic. Thus by having a double line on every avenue, (which is possible in a pecuniary sense with the goods monopoly as a bylaw) every block on both sides can be served, and the whole city be within the beneficial system. As the avenues are at an equal distance in a parallel and transversal way viz: 1125 feet from each other, the farthest point to reach a tram is 575 feet which any reasonable person will admit is a convenient distance. PARKS, RECREATION GROUNDS, AND GARDENSEvery block being provided with a Public Park, for pedestrians only, the whole, or nearly so, of the foreshores of the Wolonglo are reserved for the people, for an outing and picnic resort under the willow banks. Besides, there are Parks and Domains distributed over the whole, with a Public building in the centre the vista will be enhanced, thus they mostly occupy an elevated spot to help the effect. TREE PLANTINGAs a matter of course the trees will occupy a prominent factor in the embelishment of the Parks and Domains, and it is to be hoped a judicious selection will be made. Besides in the Avenues, Boulevards and parallel streets a row of trees is marked on each promenade respectively, except in the latter where a row on each kerb near the footway can be placed, and elongated, narrow garden plots distributed at intervals (like in Bridge Street Sydney). The hexagonal streets need no trees as they are short and occupy the commercial quarters; a good circular space at the convergence of them in the 1000 feet block, will, with few trees around the central monument, be sufficient, and will give a good central view, as a long straight row of trees may tire the view, at intervals, one block may break the monotony by being substituted by garden plots and low shrubs; especially near the convergence of the evenues where a central area can encircle a statue or any other artistic monument, and keep the vehicular traffic to the left in a circle until it reaches its respective street. RAILWAYA contour railway is substituted for the one marked on contour map for the reason that a railway for goods spoils any city when it passes through the centre of it. To harmonize with the tram service to which it is necessary, there is an avenue running parallel on both sides of the 200 feet allotted for the duplication of the lines, and a space to build the tram depots, goods sheds, etc, etc, which will be required between the stations. By placing the tram lines in the above avenues at the place where the footway generally is, it will be convenient in loading goods from the sheds into the tram lorries instead of having them in the middle as in the other parts of the city.
At the station at the foot of the Black Mountain there is a branch line to the central station at Camp Hill, for passengers and luggage only. This line can be built on iron trestles and brick pillars, something similar to the one between Flinders and Spencer Street Station Melbourne. The Power House and Gas Works are located near this line for the coal supply they will require, they are the only stacks within the railway line, all the factories are outside of the said line.
BUILDINGSThe sky scrapers being condemned by those not interested in them, the diagrams give a plan for houses specially designed for the requirements of the above block and its Common: One is a working man's dwelling with private staircase two large rooms, four bedrooms, a bath room, a pantry, a laundry, closet for wood, two small lifts; one for the dust bin, and the other for provisions, cooked food and other handy parcels, and in a tower between two houses there is a lift for the service of the tenants, by the way it is situated it can serve two houses, or the inmates of eight floors, besides be an escape in case of fire.
The frontage is 36 feet with a depth of 50 feet including a back balcony facing the Common which plays a prominent part as a substitute to the present back yard. On it is located, the bathroom, pantry, laundry, wood closet, the two small lifts, (which are independent to the ones designed for the other floors) and the landing for the tenant's lift. Besides, two cranes, one a dummy, and the other with block and rope are attached to the outer edge of the balcony (the two are for the artistic effect) of each story to hoist furniture or any heavy load. Under the balconies, on the ground floor the space is allotted for the tram line and good conveyed to the block. It can be made to unload goods into the block depots and business store rooms, and land furniture and other heavy parcels under the cranes of each house respectively, on the common side.
The sectional plan of a flat tenement for single people and young married couples without family, is given in the diagrams. Although the house is of the same dimensions it differs from the home dwelling by having no private staircase, a lift at a convenient point of the wing (either the arcade, or one of the extremities) is substituted. Part of the balcony is allowed for a footway for the tenants only. As the diagram explains the idea 'tis no use to elaborate them.
UNDER GROUND ZONE SEWERS AND STORM WATER DRAINAGEAt the West end of the Molonglo, below the last rapid a tunnel is located for a main for the storm water service. As there is gravitation through the whole area the sewers and storm water services need not be ennumerated in detail. Therefore a main tunnel under the Molonglo with the watercourses made into underground aquaducts (like the stream under Pitt Street Sydney) emptying into it, monier pipes connecting with the aquaducts and street gutters into the latter ought to suffice; helped by the natural gravitation. The tunnel by being divided may act for the sewer main as well, and the latter can be connected with pipes. Electric cables, telegraph and telephone wires
The water mains, gas pipes, hydraulic pipes, the electric cables, telegraphic and other services are located under the back part of the houses as in diagram No. 6. Each avenue carries its share, and in crossing the thoroughfares the tunnels are branching off in the line of the lanes leading into the block and its Common; so as not to interfere with the inclined planes (1 in 12) leading into the subways for the crossing of the pedestrian traffic. On the walls facing the Commons and those on the lanes some iron gates can be erected with the construction of the houses for ventilation and light into those tunnels. On the foot paths and promenades some man holes can be provided to give access to them. Thus the danger of the wires overhead and the tearing up of the street can be avoided. The Berlin system is not to be recommended, on account of the periodical fire, and the danger to aviation, which has come to stay.
CONVERGENCE OF STREETSThe convergence of too many streets in condemned by certain authorities on account of the danger to the pedestrian and the vehicular traffic. To avoid the former some subways are designed, and to minimise the latter a circular space is provided. As Jehu is bound to go for short cut, some small triangular garden plots are provided, with a straight line into any turning. With the tram monopoly the traffic is bound to be lighter on the thoroughfares, by enforcing the law to keep to the left, the traffic is obliged to keep to one direction round the circular area until it comes to a point that leads to the side of the street in which it makes an exit. AERIAL ZONEExcept the T iron supports between the double tram lines and the lamp posts to light the streets nothing impedes the street. GENERAL NOTESAs all the buildings in the 'requirements' are located it is no use to point out their location. A due consideration has been given so as to have them grouped in proximity for the expense and inconvenience their incongruity may involve. So all the Departments are grouped round the houses of Parliameny[sic]; the central railway station near the Post Office; the Court Houses in one quarter, and so on.
There is no Central markets for the reason they are only convenient to a very small population, they afford an opportunity for the 'rings and combines', (helped by the cool storage) to fleece the public. As there has been some Food riots in many parts of Europe and there is a liklihood they will extend to Australia, a market is provided in each block in view of the civic authorities undertaking a commissariat for the people.
The 250 feet square block, excluding the four lanes would, with the frontage given to the houses in the diagram, contain 46 houses in the whole block. Leaving out the ground floor, the other four floors, by being similar, would, at an estimate of four to each family, give 16 souls to each house or a total of 256 people for the whole block. A block of 1000 feet between four avenues would give 1024 in population and could constitute a ward.
There is a deviation from the cardinal points of the compass to give some sunshine to the facades during some part of the day.
INDEX TO DIAGRAMSNo. 1 One floor from a four stories house (home dwelling)
No. 2 Ground floor of same with tram line.
No. 3 Whole house with ground floor, and two towers on the common facade.
No. 4 Section of one floor for Flat tenament for single people and married couples without a family.
No. 5 Plan of building block 450 feet x 450 feet, with position of lanes, arcades, building area, and tunnels for all the services.
No. 6 Convergence of two avenues and four hexagonal streets, with tram lines and the positions of their platforms, subways for the pedestrian traffic, inclined planes leading to them (1 foot in 12) and position of garden plot for directing traffic.
No. 7 Two kinds of blocks out of the six in the hexagonal system block 1000 feet by 2000: the rhomboid, and the triangular.
No. 8 Section of Boulevard, parallel street, etc.
Selected, transcribed, edited, provided with headnotes, and formatted as a web document by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Department of City and Regional Planning, West Sibley Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. Tel: (607) 255-5391, Fax: (607) 255-6681, E-mail: email@example.com To Top of Page To Homepage