With these speculative remarks, I have concluded an introduction to a methodology which can be used to examine other monuments. What follows is an application of these procedures; to other characteristic places. These different places and monuments suggest new themes and new ideas to be explored. As in the above analysis, description will be a main element of our investigations. However, space limits my inclusion of these descriptions for the remainder of the monuments.
The next monument and site that I have chosen provides an excellent opportunity to continue with some of the ideas introduced in the previous section, specifically, the use of an expressive form to convey a variety of messages. It also allows for the introduction of architecture as a means of monument making. Together they will work to extend our image of the city as a network of characteristic places.
I will also abandon the use of the quasidialogue form that I used in the previous sections. It was my intention to convey the process as one of persontoperson interactions, as well as personobject transactions.
The visit to the New Haven Green is the only one which does not adhere to the temporal strategy of holiday/monument correspondence. Situated at the center of the green is a flagpole and monument to the veterans of World War I. In contrast to the memorial at Wooster Square, it is of white, precisely cut, unpolished stone, forming a twotiered octagonal base for the flagpole mounted at its center. A threefoot bronze fence surrounds this ensemble. There is a bronze plaque mounted on each side of the uppermost octagon. These plaques cover the most part of the vertical surface of this tier. One of the plaques bears information revealing the purpose and donor of the monument. The other seven plaques list the names of the New Haven citizens who died in service during the war. The monument was erected by the city of New Haven. This may be contrasted to the donors of the Wooster Veterans’ Monument, which was placed in its location by friends of the soldiers. The physical contrast to the Wooster Square monument is primarily in its expressive form. Here we find the geometric mode used to commemorate sacrifice. Something can be said about its intentions, since the monument was placed here as a highly public act of the government.
The inclusion of the flag is an example of an archetypal or symbolic gesture. The use of symbols will be more exclusively the subject of the final site visit; one may refer to that section for further clarification and definition of the term.
In comparison to the monuments in Wooster Square, the relationship of this flagpolemonument can be a useful to illustrate how the placing of monuments determines the character of a place. The paths of the green converge at this centrally placed artifact. In Wooster Park the monuments were dispersed along the path, while the center, where the paths converged remained empty. One can conclude that this is merely a function of size, but, nevertheless, it determines the kinesthetic relationship of man to monument. This central vertical projection in the vast, horizontally of the green invites, ifnot demands, passage through this point, followed by a dispersal of visitors to the extremities of the green. In Wooster Park the monuments are encountered more casually as one moves along the paths. (An exception to this may be the Columbus monument which dominates the south entrance to the park. This is congruent with its representational mode, which requires observation from a stationary position rather than catalyzing movement.) The lack of trees in the central area provides for greater visibility of the monument. It also makes the viewing of it a more public act, whereas the Wooster—monuments can be viewed more privately and intimately.
The introduction of architecture into the investigation of public monuments is problematic, not so much as to the validityof this inclusion, but in reference to their complexity. Therefore, before a discussion of the buildings on the green, this problem must be addressed. First, public buildings are large and difficult to describe. Second, a difficulty arises from their utilitarian nature. This is not to assert that their form necessarily implies this function, but that their meanings are multidimensional. Compounding this issue of meaning and functionality, is their continuing and changing use. When one considers the literary, historical, and archeological application of revival styles, their meanings become almost inexhaustible. The art of building expands to metalinguistic or mythological dimensions. In contrast to monuments, which are specific and represent parts, partially kept, architecture, especially in public buildings, contain totalities, totally conceived.
It is precisely here where the methodology may serve a most useful purpose by confining our search to a description of materials and aiding our view of the building as object. The task of description still remains complex, so a further limitation of viewing particular elements of buildings, such as doorways, windows, or stairways, will be applied to the buildings discussed in this essay. In the deductive phase of the procedure, the issues are related to invitation, accessibility, and ceremoniality. What should be kept in mind is that these elements are to be considered for the possibility of monumentalization of the function these elements are meant to serve, as well as the values and beliefs in relation to that function. What becomes monumental in this investigation of materials and elements is the art of building itself. One may better understand this if one recalls the association of specific expressive modes of monumentmaking, (geometric, figurative, and natural,)with particular qualities and how they can be juxtaposed.
A few examples from the area of the New Haven Green will, perhaps, make this clear. I have chosen the Public Library, the Old Courthouse, and the Old City Hall. In recalling past styles of architectural excellence, they express a great value for the purposes they serve.
The balustrade surrounding the library is not unlike the fences we have discovered around other monuments. The use of stone and brick throughout the building suggest that the building houses items and persons that are valuable and are to be permanently preserved. The broad stairway together with the balustrade makes the entry to the building a ceremonial act of elevation. The choice of Greek Classical engaged columns adds to this sense of importance. The choice of brick walls adds an allusion to more vernacular building traditions. One can deduce from this description of elements, materials, and historical styles that this is in fact a monument to books. Its emphasis on entry also defines it as a monument to those who enter. It is by extension a monument for us all.
In the courthouse we find some of these similar articulations of materials and entry more emphatically defined. In the more archeological use of a Greco-Roman Classical style, we encounter a greater allusion to order and balance. One could easily deduce values of permanence and an expression of justice in these usages. The presence of figurative sculpture on the tympanum and stairs conveys the presence or housing of a human and manmade institution.
One must be careful not to make these deductions to casually or one might characterize the profusely ornamented City Hall as representative of an ostentatious and overly sentimental city government. It would be more accurate to view it as a monument to an architectural style that is rich and dynamic. The entry is polite but not quite ceremonial. The vertical emphasis supplied by the vertical tower can be indicative of the aspirations of civic excellence. In fact, the reading of it as a monument to the art of building, as suggested above, is even more appropriate now that its facade is all that remains and its public function of administration is no longer applicable.
It has not been my wish to digress and confuse the reader with an overly speculative and therefore, theoretical discussion of architecture. I have simply wished to introduce the possibility of architectural solutions to public monumentmaking. Perhaps, I could have simply chosen this last monument since its existence as a monument is so clearly transparent. It is my feeling that to have done this would have been a greater reduction than my speculative discussion hopes to alleviate.