Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Pattern Under Foot

Picture 1 shows sidewalk pavers laid on West Wellington in 2009. The pattern repeats often, with the joint lines lining up in long straight lines. The manufacturer's instructions caution against this pattern, as the eye sees the long lines.

Almost the same pattern, laid along West Wellington in 2008 contracts. The pattern is very similar to the top picture, but there are no long lines. Every few meters, the blocks jog a bit to break up the distracting line pattern. I find this a much more pleasing pattern.

Does anyone think this matters?


  1. I like the look of the second photo and being a Welliewester, would have liked the city to have continued the fancy paving stones down to the western edge of Wellington West.

    From a practical viewpoint, if you couldn't find the same paving stones, it would be easy to dig up a square in the first section and fill it with pavement or concrete. That wouldn't be the case in the second photo (which I think was laid first).

    Are these the same pavers that are going in on Preston?

  2. In a freeze-thaw climate, it may well matter. The Wellington pattern is more likely to keep its shape through freeze-thaw cycles (and less likely to be noticed if it doesn't), whereas the Preston pattern is less likely to hold its shape and any deviations will be easily noticed due to the long lines.

  3. Both the pictures are of West Wellington. The first one is the 2008 portion; the second pix is of the 2009 contract. I think the planners thought they would get the same layout, but the second pix is an inferior arrangment in my mind.

    These stones were not laid on Preston. Preston is mostly poured concrete, with some red brick sections and some white square block sections. IMO, both projects used too many patterns/variations.

    Concrete poured in place has one huge advantage over pavers: repairs are generally understood by contractors. As shown by my much earlier posting of the pavers around Place de Ville, inadequate repairs, lack of replacement bricks in the same pattern, etc eventually took us back to ... poured concrete.

    About 20 years ago, the city opted for one style of pavers (brick shape) because all the other shapes change like clothing fashions, come from various suppliers, become unavailable, etc.But lately, I see every project has different pavers. I think in ten years when the pallet or two of replacement bricks set aside for repairs is used up, and sidewalks heave and sag, we will face the problem again of incompatible pavers. But maybe that is why we get different patterns every block ... like a quilt, another piece can be sewn on ...

  4. Wait, you prefer the straight line arrangement?

    Either way, the two different arrangements, intentional or otherwise, demonstrate a good way of varying the look between distinct stretches, without having to use a different style of pavers. There are plenty of examples of areas that were paved, even with plain pavers, that were patched with asphalt. Cooper at Elgin, for example (halfway down this post)

    I know that the City is trying to keep lamp styles to a a certain number to maintain compatibility and reparability, but it seems they are still building this inventory, as all the recent major projects have all used different lamp designs.