Gate as an Entrance

Gates can serve other purposes besides closing off a vista in order to give a space a sense of enclosure. In this chapter we will consider the use of gates as entrances that demarcate neighborhoods and their larger cousins, districts.

In Pattern Number ___, Alexander calls for ……distinct neighborhood boundaries…. Few civic installations provide the clarity of definition of the gate - we know instinctively that we have changed realms when we pass through a gate.

In times not so long gone by, gates were a vital part of a city's defensive works. Gates were open and closed at set times in the morning and evening, and woe betide those benighted on the wrong side of the gate. As civilizations changed and military tactics adjusted to the diminishing security offered by city walls, the design of gates changed, and they became more ceremonial as they lost their defensive function. It would once have seemed absurd to build a gate that was not incorporated into a city wall, but by the 19th century, this practice had become commonplace.

We will consider here even a minor arch to serve as an entrance - gates need not be monumental to fulfill their role in demarcating different realms from one another.

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