The Relevance of Beautiful Infrastructure

  • David M. Foxe
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 106)


The infrastructural landscapes commissioned by Robert Moses and designed by master structural engineers such as Othmar Ammann from the 1920s to the 1960s demonstrate a vast range of design qualities. Beauty has not always been deemed relevant to the creation of structure and infrastructure, and yet there are lessons from this era in the design and interpretation of the physical environment. Building upon qualitative techniques that enabled structural artists to use slender elements to, in the words of Hans-Georg Gadamer, “defy the traditional principles of structural engineering… and to create something totally new,” this project illuminates the potential of structures to embody humanistic richness and depth of perceptual experience.


Design Quality Plate Girder Traditional Principle Pedestrian Bridge Power Broker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abbott, Berenice. Changing New York, 1936. See MTA and Yochelson below.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, Edward. Conversations with Author, 2006–2007.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, Edward and Zalewski, Wacław. Shaping Structures. (New York, NY: Wiley and Sons, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. Allen, Edward, Wacław Zalewski, David M. Foxe, and Jeffery Anderson Form and Forces: Designing Expressive, Efficient Structures. (New york, NY: Wiley and Sons, 2009).Google Scholar
  5. Alesi, Patricia Watkins and Carr, Ethan. Compilers. “Standard Details of the Moses Era, City of New, Parks and Recreation.” University of Massachusetts, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Compiled 2003–2004.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, Steve. New York City Roads., 2005–2007.
  7. Ballon, Hilary and Jackson, Kenneth. eds. Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York. (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2007).Google Scholar
  8. Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1982).Google Scholar
  9. Campanella, Thomas J. “American Curves: Gilmore D. Clarke and the Civic Landscape,” Harvard Design Magazine 1(2), Summer 1997.Google Scholar
  10. Campanella, Thomas J. Cities from the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America. (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  11. Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974).Google Scholar
  12. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. “Die Aktualitaet des Schoenen,” [The Relevance of the Beautiful]. (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1977).Google Scholar
  13. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. The Relevance of the Beautiful and Other Essays, ed. R. Bernasconi. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  14. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method, Second Revised Edition, tr. J. Weinsheimer and D. Marshall. (New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004).Google Scholar
  15. Gandy, Matthew. Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  16. Giedion, Siegfried. Space, Time, and Architecture. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941).Google Scholar
  17. Janberg, Nicolas, ed. Structurae International Gallery and Database of Structures, including “Ward’s Island Vertical Lift Bridge,” 2006–2007.
  18. Krieg, Joann. Long Island Studies: Robert Moses, Single-Minded Genius. (Interlaken, NY: Heart of the Lakes Publishing, 1989).Google Scholar
  19. LaGuardia, Fiorello et al. New York City’s Postwar Program, 1944.Google Scholar
  20. LaMonte, Beck et al. Post-War Program New York City, Exhibit 500 Park Avenue at 59th St., May 1, 1944. (New York, NY: Steidinger Press, 1944).Google Scholar
  21. Loyd, Clinton F. The Belt Parkway: Published on the Occasion of the Opening. (New York, NY: Robley Press Service, 1940).Google Scholar
  22. Martin, Reinhold. The Organizational Complex/Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  23. Metropolitan Transit Authority. “Triborough Bridge Exhibit” at MTA Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2007.Google Scholar
  24. Moses, Robert. “The Comprehensive Parkway System of the New York Metropolitan Region,” Civil Engineering 9(3) (March 1939): pp. 160–162.Google Scholar
  25. Moses, Robert. The Triborough Bridge Authority Fifth Anniversary. (New York, NY: Triborough Bridge Authority, 1941).Google Scholar
  26. Moses, Robert. Letter to Charles K. Panish, Army Corps of Engineers, November, 30 1944. NY Municipal Archives Microfilm.Google Scholar
  27. Moses, Robert. Tomorrow’s Cars and Roads, Reprinted by permission of Liberty Magazine, Inc., by the Triborough Bridge Authority, c.1945.Google Scholar
  28. Moses, Robert. A Half Century of Achievement. Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority links the five boroughs…Golden Anniversary, City of New York, 1898–1948. New York Times Magazine, 7 March 1948, reprinted by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.Google Scholar
  29. Moses, Robert. Pedestrian Bridge to Ward’s Island. (New York, NY: Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, 1949).Google Scholar
  30. Moses, Robert. “How to Plan and Pay for Better Highways,” in First National Better Highways Awards Contest. (Detroit, MI: General Motors, 1952).Google Scholar
  31. Moses, Robert. Public Works and Beauty: The Philosophy of Triborough. (New York, NY: Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, 1966).Google Scholar
  32. New York City Planning Commission: System of Express Highways, January 22, 1941.Google Scholar
  33. Pressley Associates Landscape Architects [Marion Pressley, Lauren G. Meier, Paul McGinley, Swaathi Joseph, David M. Foxe, et al.]: Shore (Belt) Parkway Master Plan, 2006.Google Scholar
  34. Rilke, Rainer Maria. Uncollected Poems, tr. Edward Snow. (New York, NY: North Point Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  35. Robert, Sam. “Reappraising a Landmark Bridge, and the Visionary Behind it,” New York Times, 11 July 2006.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, Christine, ed. Before and After the End of Time: Architecture in the year 1000. (New York, NY: George Braziller, 2001).Google Scholar
  37. Solomon, Jonathan. 13 Projects for the Sheridan Expressway. (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press (Pamphlet Architecture 26), 2004).Google Scholar
  38. Triborough Bridge Authority (Robert Moses, Chairman). Sheepshead Bay Section of the Belt Parkway, May 30, 1941. (New York, NY: Robley Press Service, Inc., 1941).Google Scholar
  39. Vesely, Dalibor. Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  40. Wilkinson, Alan. “Up for Grabs—Wanna Buy a Bridge?,” The New Yorker, 16 January 2006.Google Scholar
  41. Yochelson, Bonnie. Berenice Abbott Changing New York. (New York, NY: New Press, 1999).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering, PC (EYP) BostonNewtonUSA

Personalised recommendations