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DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This thesis is a sociological exploration of the roles and functions assigned to public spaces in business orientated environments. Investigating how interventions installed in a public space can create more productive places and promote social interaction, facilitate collaboration and promote creative networking for urban professionals. How do organisational collectives engage and interact with public spaces, and how do they participate in the construction of a local identity?


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SOCIAL OBSERVATION: CITY OF LONDON

As different as the architectural styles of the buildings that encapsulate a space, are the contextual influences that affect the dynamics of the space itself. The uses, functions and expectations become embodied into the character of the space as if constructed from the residue ephemeral building blocks of the community that now contains them.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS RESEARCH METHODS: OBSERVATION


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SOCIAL OBSERVATION: CITY OF LONDON


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SPACE SYNTAX FRAMEWORK

FINSBURY CIRCUS

FEN COURT

ST. MARY AXE

ACCESSABILITY

6

7

8

PROXIMITY

4

7

8

VIEWS

9

6

10

SEATING

10

5

6

7.25

6.25

8

OVERALL Using the Space Syntax framework public spaces in the City of London are examined to identify those that although meeting the criteria of ‘well-functioning’ public spaces, still somehow failed to meet the expectations.

The methodology used to rate these spaces was highly subjective. I based my ratings on an inuitive feel, as I am not a local worker, however locals could be asked to rate the spaces themselves.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SITE LOCATION


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SITE LOCATION


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SITE LOCATION


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS ST. MARY AXE OBSERVATION

Images from Google StreetView.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS ST. MARY AXE OBSERVATION


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS LATERAL THINKERS FRAMEWORK OF VISITOR ENGAGEMENT

Adaptating the fraework established by Latral Thinkers, I was able to create an observational methodology that focused on the dynamics, use and functions of the space. In relation to dynamics: Access and the flow of people – where did they come from/go. Physical traces. Concentrations of inhabitance. Use: Duration of stay, models of behaviour, engagement with the environment, how did they make use of space, movement, exploration, disruption. Functions: Changes with environmental conditions, time, level of interation.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS GMW ARCHITECTS ARCHIVE


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS GMW ARCHITECTS ARCHIVE


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS SEAGRAM BUILDING

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson (design architects); Kahn & Jacobs (associate architects) 1958


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS WHYTE, W.H. (1988) ‘THE DESIGN OF SPACES’

“The best-used plazas are sociable places, with a higher proportion of couples and groups than you will find in less-used places. At the plazas in New York, the proportion of people in twos or more runs about 50-62 percent; in the least-used, 25-30 percent. A high proportion is an index of selectivity. If people go to a place in a group or rendezvous there, it is most often because they decided to beforehand. Nor are these places less congenial to the individual. In absolute numbers, they attract more individuals than do the less used spaces. If you are alone, a lively place can be the best place to be. The best-used places also tend to have a higher than average proportion of women... Women are more discriminating than men as to where they will sit, they are more sensitive to annoyances, and they will spend more time casing a place. They are also more likely to dust off a ledge with their handkerchief. The male-female ratio is one to watch. If a plaza has a markedly low proportion of women, something is wrong. Conversely, if it has a high proportion, the plaza is a good and well-managed one and has been chosen as such.” “Some 80 percent of the people activity on plazas comes during the lunchtime, and there is very little activity after fivethirty.” “During the lunch period, people will distribute themselves over space with considerable consistency, with some sectors getting heavy use day in day out, others much less so. We also found that off-peak use gives the best clues to people’s preferences.” “Plazas are not ideal places for striking up acquaintances. Much better is a very crowded street with lots of eating and quaffing going on.”


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS WORKSHOPS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS WORKSHOPS : RESULTS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS INSPIRATIONAL LITERATURE

“Just as this printed page, [the city] if it is legible, can be visually grasped as a related pattern of recognisable symbols, so a legible city would be one whose districts or landmarks or pathways are easily identifiable and are easily grouped into an over-all pattern.” KEVIN LYNCH - IMAGE OF THE CITY

“Designers often look for opportunities to use spatially defining interaction as a mechanism to understand, critique, and promote social interaction. The physical architecture can be used to include or exclude people from one another, to facilitate, dissipate, or focus crowds of people. In this way, in the realm of the physical world, interactive public spaces can have a profound effect on social interactions.” MICHAEL FOX AND MILES KEMP - INTERACTIVE ARCHITECTURE

“...space must in one way or another be defined by solids. This is equally true of exterior urban space, the most important kind of space for the popular life of the city as a whole.” VINCENT SCULLY, JR. - THE DEATH OF THE STREET


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS MOBILE STREET FURNITURE Clearly, the problem of theft and vandalism is at the forefront of urban planners minds when considering the type of street furniture to be used in pubolic places. This concept used the idea of installing rails that meant users could slide furniture around predesignated routes, in-out of the sun, under cover, nearer or further from others. Also, I felt that using this method, users of a space will start to engage with the actions of one another more, as comprimises will need to be made, and social interactions formed if people would like to move furntiure that is shared by strangers.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS PROXEMIC METHOD BLOCKS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS PROXEMIC METHOD BLOCKS INTERACTIVE WALL

“Interaction design in the public sphere also necessarily engages the social and cultural dimensions of space.”

MICHAEL FOX AND MILES KEMP - INTERACTIVE ARCHITECTURE


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS PROXEMIC METHOD BLOCKS AND PARTITIONS

FLIP DOT WALL THAT PROVIDES A MORE TANGIBLE RESPONSE TO MOVEMENT/INTERACTION THAN LIGHT INSTALLATIONS. A BENEFIT OF THIS TECHNOLOGY IS THAT IT NOT ONLY PROVIDES A VISUAL RESPONSE BUT ALSO AN ACOUSTIC QUALITY THAT SOUNDS SIMILAR TO THE WIND RUSTLING LEAVES ON A TREE OR THE RUSHING OF WATER

ELECTROCHROMATIC CELLS THAT RESPOND TO PROXEMITY TO CREATE EITHER PRIVATE OR OPEN SEATING AREAS


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS PROXEMIC METHOD BLOCKS INTERACTIVE WALL

“In the case of electronic products, the “unique qualities” of the object of interaction is their potential as an electronic product to persuade the users as protagonists, through the user’s use of the object, to generate a narrative space where the understanding of the experience is changed or enlarged. By using the object, the protagonist enters a space between desire and determinism, a bizarre world of the “infra-ordinary”... A DUNNE - HERTZIAN TALES


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS PROXEMIC METHOD BLOCKS

EACH CUBE WILL TRANSMIT AND RECEIVE A SYNCHRONISATION AND ADDRESS CODE. THE CUBES WILL THEN DETECT THE SIGNAL STRENGTH OF NEARBY CUBES AND CALCULATE THEIR DISTANCES. THE CUBES WILL THEN SEND THIS DATA BACK TO A CENTRAL HUB THAT WILL TRIANGULATE THE PROXIMITY OF THE SPACE. A key factor in the sending and receiving of signals will be the spontaneous distortion caused by people walking and standing between the objects. Conceptually, this factor can be rationalised as a distancing response as would be the case when people are out of line of sight, i.e., they are no longer connected to other individuals or the space in the same manner.


DESIGNING PUBLIC SPACES FOR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS FUTURE ITERATIONS

Further research in sociological terms: > the impact/influence on results of different social, cultural, economic and political factors upon use/function of public space Technologically, Blutooth connectivity. Messaging service > blocks act as a social intermediary.

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Thesis Presentation