built to last

6.8 Built to last paving and fences in Hungary

6.8.Hungary-1-detail-g Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

Permanence over disposability is reflected in paving and fences.

This sketch includes a paving pattern of thick six-inch cube Belgian blocks typically cut from basalt stone. They look like granite and convey a feeling of Roman permanence. The patterns in the street range from radial and serpentine to fan shapes, and the cross section is curved with a slightly higher elevation at the center than the sides to facilitate water runoff. I am burned out on potholes, and in the winter of 2015, I had to pay over $300 to have a new “run flat” tire put on my car. Every winter outside of Philadelphia, enough moisture makes its way into the asphalt that it freezes, expands, and starts to degrade the roads. The result is potholes. While stone roads are certainly too costly, there may be a better way to pave our roads today.

The fence outside one of the Szechenyi palaces sends a signal of elegant restraint and permanence. Sustainability is about reducing waste, so materials like stone and thick iron last significantly longer than twenty-first-century asphalt roads and chain-link fences. The Hungarian aristocratic Szechenyi family has built or endowed everything from schools and hospitals to the famous suspension bridge in Budapest. The fence in this drawing is an example of something that is built to last. The sketch also includes a large nest for birds called Golya, pronounced “Goya,” living on chimneys, roofs, or in this case a telephone pole. The birds look something like storks, and the same ones often return every year to the same nests. They become favorite town mascots. There is a superstition that when the birds return each year they bring good luck.

Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to architecture that is built to last through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on built to last construction, we hope that you enjoy exploring LearnfromLooking.com. You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as materials that are built to last.

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