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THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE CONNECTION IN URBAN ENCLAVES

Celeste Asmus, Franz Greenwood, Hyeonsu Yang


Preface The following research is an investigation conducted by Franz Greenwood, Celeste Asmus and Yang Hyeon Su in conjunction with the graduation studio ‘Dwelling: At Home in the City’ during the months of September and October 2010 . The intended purpose of this research is to help guide and inform housing design proposals for the city of Berlin that will be the final product of the studio.


Index

Introduction

/1

Problem statement + personal research question

/2

Team Problem statement + research question

/5

Research method

/6

Case studies 1. Rue de l’Ourcq, Paris, France 2. Timberyard housing, Dublin, Ireland 3. Piazza CÊramique, Maastricht, Netherlands 4. P10 mixed use, Split, Croatia 5. Golden Lane Estate, London, England 6. Schots 1 & 2, Groningen, Netherlands Conclusions

/12

Essay Franz

/29

Essay Celeste

/35

Essay Hyeonsu

/41

/26


Introduction This research is an investigation of the negative space in and around urban ‘enclaves.’ With individual problem statements and research questions as a platform from which to depart we have developed a research methodology to apply to a series of case studies. This methodology will be described from page 6, whereafter its application to the various case studies will be illustrated. Our conclusion will endeavor to deconstruct the case studies and their various elements. The research portion will be followed by three essays which address aspects of the individual problem statements.

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We start with the assertion that the space in and around buildings, if not made expressly private, is predominantly given over to the function of circulation and thus implicitly omits considerations for public and private occupation. Living in the 21st century city means making one’s home within an ever diminishing amount of available space. As the push for acquiring private space becomes ever stronger the availability of public space around dwellings will diminish, with the result that dwellings become privatized compounds either by economic necessity or choice. Often public space defined by dwellings serves the function of either circulation or esthetics, resistant to occupation or the interventions of those living there. Often too at the access points from the public space to the dwelling there is even an intermediary space (lobby, circulation, storage, parking) effectively severing the relationship with such spaces from those of the private dwelling. Much of what stands for residential urban development becomes space distinct to a specific socio-economic group. Concentration of such developments, in conjunction with the economic development it inspires, eventually leads to areas of monogeneity within cities, which in turn lead to stagnation of the complexity of life and output of such neighborhoods. Architects are only now looking at ways to mitigate the effects of gentrification on cities and neighborhoods. The Woodward’s District in Vancouver is a prime example of one such project which attempts to blend community and market interests. The composition of housing available is one aspect addressed in such projects but more importantly, as such projects aspire to merge with existing neighborhoods, the public space created by such projects and the manner in which they coincide with the private realm is crucial. In many closed neighborhoods and developments access to the space created by the building assembly is minimized or locked off, deliberately restricting public access and diminishing its potential for use, even by those who live there. Such projects clearly put a great deal of importance on privacy, especially on ground level where possible ‘invasions’ are more likely, leaving the ground floor closed off or unused. This removes a crucial aspect of human presence from collective/public spaces, leading to diminished social control and lack of street life. This can also be said for dwellings that connect directly to underground parking, enabling dwellers to go to and from home without ever appearing in the ‘reality’ of the public space. This research will take as a starting point the assumption that Hajer and Reijndorp’s theory regarding the perception of public space as territorialized or as an experiential archipelago is a reality today. They pose the question; how can such spaces create connections. Do such projects exist that have attempted such connections?

Q: How are territories for public and private use defined within the exterior space around mixed- use housing blocks?

- Franz Greenwood

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Q: How are territories for public and private use defined within the exterior space around mixed use housing blocks? Q: Which boundaries prevent the shared use of access spaces from the public realm towards the dwelling?

There is a lack of well defined public program that connect different cultures, in cities of today. Living in the 21st century, means living in high density urban environments, where the access routes are economically minimized and therefore entirely mono-functional. The mono-functionality of the access in residential building blocks of today makes for unused spaces that deteriorate the living quality of residents. Their participation in the upkeep of these spaces is also lost because there is no function to the space other than moving towards the dwelling or towards the destination within the city. The border between public and private is becoming consequently larger, because of the distancing in height and through different architectural element. Even the streets are less of a public space, with people moving through them in their individual world, headphones on, telephone by hand. The mono-functionality of the transportation routes in the city, unquestionably leads to the lack of connection in the public. Where there used to be places for connection between people in the Greek agora, the Forum Romano or the Viennese coffeehouses. Nowadays, people only connect within their own individual network. (Social media adds to this bubble.) This issue assures the feeling of tension when confronted with ‘others’, people that are not included in the individual network and through this tension other problems arise. There is a fragmentation seen that is leaning towards total segregation of groups, which is visible most clearly in the difference between cultures, which are either clashing or ignoring each other. People don’t connect to people from other cultures anymore, because they are not brought together in any way physically (through built form/open space), in the public realm. The different issues stated above, make this the reality of today’s cities. Thesis: By creating spaces that can be used for multipurpose activities, the connection between the individual and the public will be increased and also the connection between different groups of people within the city will be increased. The access routes are the main part of the border area of public and private and should in turn, also, have a multifunctional purpose, to improve the liveliness in the city. Using the access route for multiple activities will increase the liveliness of the city and make people feel more connected to their city and the people in it. (example: the occupation of the street by people, when it is just outside their front door, gives liveliness to the street(public), a feeling of control and thus also a feeling of safety)

- Celeste Asmus 3


Different conditions create different results. The trivial and routine things around us such as small benches or even trees are able to attract people to them and stimulate people to occupy spaces. Paving on a pedestrian way or grass along a street also give a specific token to people to linger or not. Those kinds of small scale devices play an important role in creating a quality of space to encourage or discourage people to take possession such spaces. Moreover, they can easily be modified to maintain or change the impressions or use of space. On the other hand, buildings which have their own city-scale and are settled in the urban fabric create physical environments become permanent and solid things; if there is a path between buildings people would pass through it. Plazas surrounded by buildings allow space for merchants to stage their weekend markets. And because a tennant’s apartment belongs to one collective house in a block with other apartments and buildings he or she is more likely to meet other tennants frequently. It means the physical surroundings of a building make tangible urban public space, and is directly related to daily life in a city. Collective housing is one of the important key configures in the physical urban context: there are great differences between life in city and life outside from city, life in single houses and life in collective housing. Life in the city is based on a high density of population and land-use. If someone is staying in his/her apartment in collective housing he or she frequently, and necessarily, has to confront others, which may be neighbors or strangers, around his/her house or somewhere in the city. Also, as one of tenants in the collective dwelling, he/she would share some space such as public open-space, inner courtyard, collective facilities, parking area, and so on with others in the same building. Therefore, the life of a city-dweller between buildings is crucial, as much as a life in his or her apartment, to the makeup of city life as a whole.

Q: How are territories for public and private use defined within the exterior space around mixed use housing blocks? Q: Which boundaries prevent the shared use of access spaces from the public realm towards the dwelling? Q: How can the scale of the building affect the routing and movement of people around it?

Because of those reasons, architects and urban planners have (and still do) struggle to provide open public space in housing. However, they have to maintain a balance between public space and private area for tenants. On a large scale, they propose an arrangement of building and mix-used program within the urban context in order to create a convivial environment. They also try to handle small scale elements like pavements, benches, trees, gates, etc. Personally, I want to know how these various elements in and around collective housing area contribute to make a active social spaces through the team analysis.

- Hyeonsu Yang 4


Q: How are territories for public and private use defined within the exterior space around mixed use housing blocks? Q: Which boundaries prevent the shared use of access spaces from the public realm towards the dwelling? Q: How can the scale of the building affect the routing and movement of people around it? Q: What architectural elements are present in the connection between the public domain and the dwelling that connect or separate the spaces encountered?

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Public space in the city has been privatized to the point that all that remains of it is the transit zone. “The Public space turns out, in reality, barely to function as a public domain; rather it is a transit zone between enclaves of different variations on ‘our kind of people.” (Hayer & Reijndorp, 2001) “The design of buildings in relation to relevant human dimensions is crucial - how much can be reached on foot from a given point, and how much it is possible to see and experience.” (Gehl, 2010) In order to invite people into the spaces claimed by private interest there follows a contradiction, a desire for privacy and ‘openness’ meet. In this situation the transit zone is extended into the private sphere and thus the boundaries between the two become obscured.

- Celeste Asmus - Franz Greenwood - Yang Hyeon Su


To look indepth at this ill-defined space which at once aspires to be private and yet remains accessible to all, as research method was sought which would address the nature of public life today and the qualities of the spaces which encompass it. In Search of New Public Space by Reijndorp and Hajer sees the contemporary city as a dispersed series of experiential nodes or enclaves, that are, in themselves homogenous but collectively distinct. The quote on the previous page illustrates the consequence of such a condition. This establishes the foundation or premise for our research.

Research Methodology

The writing of Jan Gehl begins to inform the research itself. In Life Between Buildings he advocates for the re-emergence of the street as a place for public life and interaction. If Reijndorp + Hajer’s statement inspires a reading of the problem than Gehl can be a constructive response to it. His writing, based on acute observation, looks not only at spaces but the public within those spaces, a focus which pairs well with Reijndorp and Hajer’s assessment of human experience of the city overall. From these books we established two elemental qualities of the modern reading of the city. The public space as a route and architecture as an

enclave.

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The Route

The Enclave

The route is one of the two components that make up the archipelago model of the contemporary city. As such, it is the space surrounding and defined by the architecture and enclaves. As a transit space it is open to the public in much the same way that actual transit hubs such as train stations are. All manner of people use these spaces.

The enclave is the second component of the contemporary city. Such an entity can exist at the scale of the district or neighborhood but the term can as easily apply to autonomous architectural projects as well.

The Route as Monofunctional Space. The transit space is characterized by the space around buildings, the space of the street, but when buildings open what would normally be private spaces to the public the transit/public space becomes enmeshed with semi-private space. These spaces ultimately connect to private dwellings. Thus the route or transit space is a line of presumably monofunctional spaces that can be traced from the street to the front door. The street, through some kind of sequence or diversion inevitably connects to everyone’s front door. In the case of this research we will look at the route with a certain group in mind. The public. Jan Gehl, in his book, addresses the design of public space as a tool to draw the private resident out in order to enliven and enhance public domain. He states the need for a buffer zone along this route to establish a transition from private to public. As we are looking at buildings which through their design intentionally create public space within them however, this line of inquiry needs to be reversed. It is the experience of a member of the public along this route which will exhibit how private space is retained. The articulation of this route thus forces a gradation from public to private.

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The enclaves which we are interested in investigating are distinct from the typical definition as they contain program which is intended in some fashion to work as public amenity. This presents us with a contradiction of sorts, as the characteristic typical of the enclave, to maintain a homogenous group of people and activities to the exclusion of the city beyond, is effectively diminished by the inclusion of ‘the other’, the unpredictable public sphere. Considering this, within projects where such ambiguous space exist we expect to find elements which accomplish the reverse of what Gehl has laid out: Instead of how to make the public space more public, the insertion of public space into semiprivate zones begs the question, how does one make this new sense of private, just as private as it previously was?, Thus architectural elements could possibly be employed to keeping the public back, in the same way that the enclave might previously have done, but more ‘gently’.


1

2

Case Study Selection The process begins with the selection of appropriate case study subjects. A suitable architectural case study is deemed to possess the following characteristics:

3

4

- An exterior space free of physical barriers at all times.

- Exist within an urban context except when they establish their own urban situation through massing and scale.

- An assembly of buildings, mostly private program, that define an exterior space separate from that of the street.

- The capacity for public and private use.

Furthermore, subjects of various scales have been chosen as scale is strongly associated with access in a building.

Case Studies 5

6

Small scale 1. Postal worker housing, Paris - Philippe Gazeau 2. Brick yard, Dublin - O’Donnell + Tuomey Medium scale 3. Piazza Ceramique, Maastricht - Jo Janssen Architecten 4. P10 Mixed Use Housing, Split - Studio Up Large scale 5. Schott Part 1+2, Groningen - S333 6. Golden Lane, London - Chamberlin, Powell + Bon

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Transitions Transitions should be “indicated physically but at the same time it is important that the indication is not so firm a demarcation that it prevents contact with the outside world” - Gehl fig 1.

It is these demarcations which establish what Gehl sees as a hierarchical system of spaces graduating from the private sphere of the home to the public domain of the street and square. , as illustrated in fig. #. Thus if these elements can be identified we can establish how boundaries are implied in scenarios where a clear expression of boundaries is ambiguous. The question can be asked: What ‘gentle’ transitions are employed to maintain a sense of territory under such open conditions?

Binary Scenarios Beyond the demarcations of the private space it is the public space which Gehl wishes to improve upon. He establishes in clear terms a set of binary scenarios (fig 2). These scenarios illustrate both the positive encouragement that public space requires, according to Gehl while the opposed scenario leads to the detriment of public space and thus can be applied to describe the formulation of the boundaries from public to private, where public space diminished. These contrasting verbs can be summed up by one pair of verbs: SEPARATE and CONNECT

Designed Elements Gehl lays out architectural and environmental components in order to accomplish the task of this separation or connection of spaces. These elements thus provide the research method with a basic set of tools that can be identified within the case studies. When transitioning from the street to the home, how are these elements employed?

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fig 2.

Assemble / Disperse Integrate / Segregate Open / Close Invite / Repel Direct / Indirect (connections) Inhibit / Promote (contact)

fig 3.

Walls (corridors, fences, doors, edges...) Distances (physical, visual, perceived, actual) Speed (paths, benches) Levels (stairs, ramps, tiers) + materiality Orientations (open spaces, light, visuals)


6 Elements as parameters Wall, Distance, Speeds, Levels, Orientation, and Functions are the 6 ma-

jor elements necessary to understand the relation between public to private negative space in and around urban ‘enclaves.’ These elements are basically related to possibilities and opportunities to perceive or occupy some space in a city. Although Jan Gehl only introduced the concept of ‘Contact and Isolation’ with 5 elements (excluding ‘functions’) in his book, ‘Life between buildings’, he pointed out the importance of functions related to the street is crucial for improving or discourage the quality of public space. For that reason, we also pick ‘Functions’ up as one of the classes.

1. Wall is about visual, physical, and symbolic obstacles. This can take the form of gates, doors, fences, walls and edges, covered paths, low ceilings and so on. That means opposite examples like bridges, open space, pedestrian ways, etc act as No Wall elements, connecting one place to another and maintaining continuity of surfaces and views. 2. Distance relates to dimension from one point to another. It is not only about physical and visual aspects, but how these are perceived. Various distances do not necessarily indicate accessibility or not, but can encourage or discourage people to access a place by obscuring that place through distance and perceived isolation. 3. Speed refers to the movement of people. ‘Soft’ ground cover, urban furniture, the layout of paths, shortcuts and detours serve to affect the speed in public places. They exclude vehicular traffic which would hinder more informal activity 4. Level normally relates to designed topographical differences. Stairs, steps, ramps and elevators are the tools which are indicative of such spaces. Level change serves to separate spaces by isolating them visually and physically from one another. Any change in level is said to dissuade pedestrian access. 5. Orientation means the spatial relation by vista. Window or windowless facades, and the orientation of them that can either create livable space or on the contrary abandoned, unsafe space. 6. Function is directly related to public life as it is often extended as a resource to the public. Cafes, shops, restaurants animate public spaces. Passive functions such as banks and offices do not entice people to stay and linger, to encourage street life. As previously stated, these 6 elements can belong to two higher categories: Connect

& Separate

Connect: No Walls : Open spaces, pedestrian streets Short Distances : Short streets, bridges Low Speeds : Soft materials, trees, grass, benches One Level : No steps, ramps Orientation toward others : Window facades, vistas Active Functions : Cafes, bars, restaurants, shops

Separate: Walls : Gates, doors, walls, covered space Long Distances : Water area, detours, narrow spaces High Speeds : Roads, automobiles Multiple Levels : Ramps, stairs, elevators, sunken areas Orientation away from others : Windowless facades Passive Functions : Bank, office, gas station, parking lots, all non-placesz

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Mapping the Route To make visual the route between the street and the dwelling the research will be based on a binary scheme reflective of Jan Gehl’s criteria. To accurately portray this it is first important to explain how this scheme is illustrated. In the most basic of scenarios, the private entrance directly off the street, there are two components (fig 1). One is the public space of the street which is inherently a connected scenario. Ideally there is little hindrance to communication, vision and movement along the standard sidewalk. The next and final step is the front door which delineates the edge of the public and private realm. This is a clearly defined border to a space forbidden to the general public and thus a separated condition. The two scenarios are herein depicted as an open circle for connection, and closed circle for disconnection. When this binary mapping is applied to an increasingly complex scenario a greater number of components are encountered in between the open origin and closed destination. For the moment we should consider the elements that have been identified in figure 2 as hypothetical. However, explaining one of these scenarios will help to explain generally how these components are identified. #4 is indicated as a separation. From this point to #5 there is a stair case. Jan Gehl states that public space is hindered by significant changes in level. Thus, by separating the upper deck from the continuous ground level it is implied that the deck above is a less public space than the ground floor. The component representative of this separation is the stair. It connects the dweller to his or her dwelling, but from the perspective of the public it is a cessation of physical and visual continuity. It is thus associated with a disconnection. This separation is reinforced through the use of materiality. The stair in this case marks a change in material. As the material is continuous from there until the front door it is clear the stair is associated more so with the increasingly private space rather than trying to encourage material continuity with the public realm. After having established this scenario a further embellishment is made to help make explicit the nature of each element. This consists of small images which highlight the various aspects in the architectural composition site planning which establish connecting or separating aspects.

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fig. 1

1

2

connection seperation public tennants

3

4

5

6

7

fig. 2


CASE STUDIES The following several pages document case studies conducted by our research group. These case studies consist of two parts. The first being the identification of the various public components of the various building designs. These include massing, spaces for occupation (green space), ground floor spaces, vertical connections, public program and the public facade of the building. This will help locate the components and routes to be analysed. The second part consists of what has been discussed on the previous page, the schematic maps of the various routes to a single dwelling on the site from any number of possible points of origin. From these one route will be arbitrarily chosen to serve as the series of spaces for analysis. This route will then be articulated through a schematic layout tied to a sectional drawing, material chart and a sequencing of the various connecting or separating elements along the route. Each element will be described and identified through the binary valuation of Connector or Separator. Together these elements will serve to express the way in which these various buildings attempt to develop a ‘gentle’ barrier between the public who are able to enter into their precincts and the private sphere of the individual dwelling.

Rue de L’Ourcq | Paris | Small Scale

Piazza Ceramique | Maastricht | Middle Scale

Timberyard Housing | Dublin | Small Scale

P10 | Split | Middle Scale

Schots 1 & 2 | Groningen | Large Scale

Golden Lane Estate | London | Large Scale

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Rue de l’Ourcq - Paris Phillippe Gazeau This building is a small scale infill project consisting of collective housing. The building has two small courtyards and one public program element (cafÊ) on the ground floor. All collective spaces are seperated from the public by a gate yet remain visible to the street. The architectural mass is composed of three individual buildings, two of which face the street, with a shared terrace space mixed with circulation functions, creating the public prescence, while the third establishes a secluded inner space of low rise dwellings.

massing

green areas

program- cafe + terrace

ground connection

street facade

vertical connection

:maintains context but opens up site through the circulation core

:recessed facade at ground level creates space for some seating

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: recessed facade with dwelling windows oriented front to back.

:hidden through difference in levels

:change in level distinguishes areas of low and high density

:large terraced decks for high density and small stair case for low desnity with private balconies


The arrangement of the routing in such a small scale building does not necessarily operate as a discouraging element as it is simple and visually apparent. In the stead of convoluted routing, material discontinuity and phsyical barriers act to discourage occupation by parties other than the tennants. # of elements # of connections # of seperations

6 3 3

7 6 4

5 3

2

*

1

1

2

3

4

connection separation

5

6

7

public tenants

* physical barrier 1

Visual + physical contact - Commercial access + entrance

2

3

Gate to collective sp. - Physical barrier - Materials change

Windowless corridor - Physical and visual distancing - Materials change

Stair - Level change - Vis.+Phys. dist. - Mat. change

connect

connect

separate

separate

separate

asphalt

steel grating

wooden tiling

connect

connect

4

5

separate

wooden slats

6

7

Vista - Visually open

Open space - Visually and physically open

Door to priv. space - vis.+phys. barrier

separate

separate

separate

connect

connect

connect


Timberyard Housing - Dublin O’Donnell+Tuomey This building is a small scale infill project consisting of collective housing. The building has two courtyards, of which one is publicly accessible. There is one public program element (community centre) on the ground floor. The collective spaces are seperated from the public by height yet , some remain visible from the street. The architectural mass is composed of two individual buildings, one facing the street,, the other facing towards the public inner street space. The ground floor is directly accessed from this public space. There are five staircases and two elevators servicing the other floors.

massing

green areas

program- community centre

ground connection

street facade

vertical connection

: maintains continuity of block, the courtyard opens to public street

:not visible from street. Accessed from the public courtyard

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: recessed facade with dwelling windows oriented front to back.

:trees are visible through the entrance and along the street.

: level change on site at two points. The block is made accessible from all the surrounding streets in this manner.

:core circulation for upper levels and accessed via street, courtyard and by individual staircases.


The arrangement of the routing in this small scale building gives different directions for use, leading through different elements that signify transitions, through material boundaires, level changes and walls that block part of the visual connection towards the private. 8 4 4

# of elements # of connections # of separations

8 7 6 1

1

5

2

3

4

5

*6

7

8

2

4

3 connector seperator

non-tennants tennants

* physical barrier 1

2

3

Vis. contact -public street

Minor steps - Material change

Archway - vis. + phys. enclosure

separate

separate

separate

connect asphalt

connect brick pattern

connect

4

Elaborate sidewalk - vis. + phys. open - benches and planters separate

connect

5

6

7

8

courtyard - vis. + phys. continuity

Door to collective space - Visual and physical barrier

Stairs - Vis. + phys. distancing

Door to priv.ate sp. - Vis.+phys. barrier

connect

connect

connect separate

line stamped concrete + brick pattern

separate line stamped concrete

separate concrete

separate connect


Piazza CĂŠramique - Maastricht, NL Jo Janssen architecten In the ‘Ceramique Area’ of Maastricht, the scheme opts for a spatial strategy in which urban space is opened up. By strategically placing three volumes, it not only makes the public space flow though the site, but it also involves the triangular green area to its east into this interlinking of urban spaces. The program to be housed within the block was that of an integrated form of dwelling and working characterized by the separation of entrances, leading to the businesses and the private house. Thus, one of the themes informing the design of these integrated apartments is the double entry and the psychological split between the more private space for living, and the more public space for working and receiving clients. Another result of the synergy of integrating dwelling and working within the same block is the possibility to create a more spacious entry-hall. In this case, it is a glassed atrium that acts as a sort of public lobby for both the apartments and the workspaces.

Massing

Program- dwelling + office

Ground connection

Vertical connection

Street facade

Greenery

: Three dwellings stand on the deck area raised above the ground.

: Buildings are leveled up from the green area. Between the front garden and the main street there is a wall which directs access

: Despite internal differences glazing remains uniform, with the exception of the mainsonettes. The facade of the decking at street level changes from brick to stone.

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: Offices on ground and deck level. There are several different housing types like town houses, and apartments, SOHO (small office-home office) being one of the types.

: Buildings have elevators and stairs connected to galleries open toward atria, with the exception of one block of direct access dwellings.

: There two 2 different green areas. One large grassy area acting as buffer between site and street. The other is an arrangement of trees and benches on deck.


In Piazza CĂŠramique, there are several separating elements; the wall, stairs to the ‘piazza’, the entrances, and elevators. First, the long, narrow street in front of a public green space is kept at a physical and visual distance by a historic wall. Second, the stairs between the public garden and the upper deck (with its ambiguous public/private quality) mark a vertical segregation. Third, the entrance to the building limits access to tenants and specific visitors. Thus the atrium within the building acts as a semi-public lobby. Finally the stairs and elevators in the atrium signify the vertical separation there. The front garden, the deck space, and the atrium are all, to some degree, public: However, in interacting with some elements like facades and separators above, the spaces become ambiguous. 9

10 4 6

# of elements # of connections # of separations

10 8 7 6

5

4

1

2

3

4

5

1

3

6

7

*

8

9

10

2

connection separation 1

2

3

4

Perimeter wall - Vis.+phys. masking

Uninterrupted walk Green area - Vis. + phys distance - Vis+phys. open - Trees and grass

separate

separate

connect Brick

connect

connect separate

5

6

7

8

tennants non-tennants 9

* physical barrier 10

Stairs - Vis.+phys. distance - Level change

Internal space - Vis.+phys. open - Trees - Surrounded by building

Door to collective - Physical barrier

Atrium - Vis.+phys. open - Materials change

Elevator / Stairs Gallery - Vis. + phys. distance - Visually open - Level change

Door to private sp. - Vis. + phys. barrier

separate

connect

separate

connect

separate

separate

connect

separate

connect

separate Stone

connect

connect separate

connect


P10 - Mixed Housing - Split Studio Up This building is a medium scale mixed use development. It consists of 4 towers linked via a split level ramp of commercial program. At it highest point the ramp opens up a space for a short cut to the nearby stadium. The building itself sits back from the road, accessible via small stairs and ramps with visual connections into small green courtyards. Commercial program is left discreetly hidden as are the private entrances off of sheltered ‘bridges’ within the courtyards.

massing

green areas

program- retail, office, museum

ground connection

street facade

vertical connection

stand alone assembly bounded by roads

businesses oriented inward

perimeter grass with planted inner courtyards adjoining edges and benches

split level ramp connected via bridges

public routing in/around site

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reduced outward oriented windows in favor of inward oriented. openings on ground level provide views into courtyards. Emphasis is given to shop glazing.

cores accessed along split in ramp at center


The routing is arranged in order to facilitate the connection, visually and physically, to shops and open garden space. The shop entrances being present in the first spaces along the route. However even these spaces are elevated from the street level and interconnected by many small corridors, ramps and stairs, making the overall spatial configuration of the route a series of disconnecting elements ringing small spaces for occupation. # of elements 9 # of connections 2 # of separations 7 9

8

7

6 5

4

3 1

1

2

3

4 5

6

*7

8

connection separation 1

2

Visual contact - Interior garden , shop access separate

connect asphalt

3

4

Stair - Physical distancing - Materials change

Low space - Shop access - Materials change

connect

connect

separate

white concrete

separate

red concrete

open space - light, garden, trees, benches - views into, out of, through separate

connect

5

narrow space + ramp - Vis.+phys. disconnect

separate connect

6

* physical barrier 7

covered space + stairs - Vis.+phys disconnect

Door to collective - Vis.+phys. barrier

connect

connect

separate

separate

9

tennants non-tennants 8

9

Stair or elevator - Vis.+phys. dist. - Materials chng

Front door - Vis.+phys. dist.

connect

connect

separate concrete

separate


Golden Lane Estate - London Chamberlin, Powell and Bon This large dwelling complex consists of collective housing with 500 units. The estate consists of six blocks of maisonettes, one flat of eleven stories and one studio apartment block. They are situated around four open courtyards. The collective spaces between the buildings are open to the public and there are facilities in the form of shops, tenniscourts, badminton courts, a playground and a public indoor swimming pool. Golden Lane Estate is a mixed-use urban village. In the inner courtyards, spaces are connected or separated by level changes.

massing

green areas

program- tenniscourts, swimming pool, community centre

ground connection

street facade

vertical connection

: mixed- use urban village in self-generated context

: within site

: the site is enclosed by streets, giving it many openings towards the outside.

21

: landscaping with grass, trees or water elements.

: change in level distinguishes areas of low and high density, and seperates the more private areas, from the more public.

: Upper levels are connected by core + gallery access. 16 story block is accessed by corridor. Maisonettes are accessed from courtyard space. A few studio apartments are accessed throughupper floor atrium.


The large dwelling estate provides several directions for access, for both the public and the inhabitants. All the courtyard spaces are accesible and linked with each other through passages and stairs. There are visual connections to the functions that are placed in between the several buildings. The level changes create separated spaces. # of elements # of connecting elements # of separating elements

9

9 2 7

8 7 6

4

5

3 2

*

1 1

2

3

4

5

connector separator

8

7

6

9

non-tennants tennants

* physical barrier 1

2

3

connect

Passage - Vis. + phys. closed - Access to shops - Materials change connect

Stairs - Level change - Vis.+phys. dist. - Materials change connect

grey tiles

red tiles

concrete

Pedestrian arcade - Access to shops separate

separate

separate

4

Perimeter wall- tenniscourts - Courtyard occupied by fence - Only narrow walk accessible - Materials change connect

separate

matt grey tiles

5

7

8

9

Stairs - Level change - Vis.+phys. dist. - Mat. change connect

Courtyard - Open internal space - Visually and physically open - Return to previous mat.

Stairs - Level change - Vis.+phys. dist. - Material change connect

Door to private sp. - Vis.+phys. barrier - Material change

coarse concrete

matt grey tiles

6

Low space - Marks separate space - Visual disconnection connect

separate

separate

connect separate

separate

coarse concrete

connect

separate concrete


Schots 1 & 2, The CiBoGa Terrain - Groningen, NL S333 Architecture + Urbanism Ltd

Schots 1

Schots 2

Two of 13 plots of land (so-called “schots” or ice floes) in derelict industrial area designed by S333 architects. Schots 1 & 2 are located in the middle of Groningen. In order to solve intrusive street noise and pedestrian traffic, two different schemed are arranged with a pedestrian street running between them. Their architectural langauge establishes a self-assured urban subcentre, integrating with the existing fabric, the traces of previous canals and traditional brick buildings.

massing

green areas

program- various stores + pool of water

ground connection

street facade

vertical connection

: One pedestrain axis and two buildings: two buildings’ schemes allow for separate access to the internal areas.

: Ground floor amenities alongside pedestrian promenade. Water area provides space for sitting.

: Glazing oriented in all directions. For facades, the buildings differ. In Schots 1: aluminium cladding. Schots 2: wooden panelling. The materials inform the character of buildings

23

: Schot 1: 4 of 6 roofs covered by grass as visual element. Internal space typically used for access. Schots 2: Private gardens. The internal space is open to all also functions as access. Both internal spaces are not green but are designed to be ‘soft’ surfaces.

: Schot 1: laid out on several levels accessible to anyone. Schots 2: semi-private space accessed directly off street.

: In Schots 1: internal space and homes accesible only by elevator linked to galleries facing collective inner space. Schots 2: all houses have their own entrances off inner courtyard. One elevator is provided.


Schots 1

The housing typology of Schots 1 is a combination between flat and point tower. All dwellingsO??? connection through one large internal space situated above the commercial program on the ground floor. Most commercial program related to daily life is located along the main pedestrian axis linked to the existing urban fabric. Tenants use elevators linking access galleries to reach their homes. The internal space, the deck area, is used as an extension of this semi-private gallery access route. On the other hand non-tenants are screened by the entrance. Another point of interest is the small pond on site. The water serves two different functions: as a barrier, and also as an edge along which one can sit and rest. The bridge enables pedestrians to cross, providing a connection between the urban fabric and shopping street. A change in surface material # of elements 6 reinforces the impression that one has#entered the precinct. of catalysts 3 # of hinderances 3 # of elements 6 # of connections 4 # of separations 2

B

5 6

C

4

3 2

* 1

2

3

4

1 A

2

3

4

Visual contact - Point towers - Other Buildings

Bridge - Maintains level and access - Materials change

Wide pedestrian street - Visual+physical continuity - Acces to commercial program - Materials change

Door to collective space - Visual and physical barrier

separate

separate

separate

connect

connect brick

6

* * connection separation

1

5

connect

concrete (pink)

connect

prefab-concrete panel

separate

5

tennants non-tennants

* physical barrier

6

Open space - Materials change - Visual+physical continuity

Door to private space - Visual and physical barrier - Materials change

connect

separate

gravel (stone chippings)

cement block tile

separate

connect


Schots 2 The shape of Schots 2, a variation on row housing with several private entrances, creates a unique physical boundry. There are no physical barriers to restrict public presence around the private entrance. However, on the route to the home, there are successive variations in materiality and level, signifying areas of decreasing public function. These signs make semi-private space in front of every front door ambiguous. Furthermore, the courtyard directly connects to the existing urban fabric, but its location adjacent to the pond hinders visual and physical access.

# of elements # of connections # of separations

D

10 5 5

8 B 7 6 6

2 3

1

2

3

6``` 7

8

*

5

2

3

connection separation

4

Long Path - Dwelling entrances - Bordered by water - Materials change

Visual Contact - Point towers - Other Buildings

Bridge - Vis.+phys. continuity - Materials change

connect

connect

separate

concrete (pink)

wooden deck

brick

6``

6`

4

C

separate

5

6

1 A

1

4

separate

connect

Opening - Visual+phys. continuity - Materials changes

connect separate

5

Courtyard - Open internal space - Trees & Stairs - Visual+phys. continuity

connect separate

gravel (stone chippings)

6

tennants non-tennants

7

* physical barrier

8

Decks & Stairs - Levels change - Visual+physical distance

Low space - Marks separate space - Visual disconnection

Door to private space - Visual + physical barrier - Materials change

separate

separate

separate

connect

connect

connect

cement block tile


Analysis 1 - Locating element in public/private zones connecting element tennants non-tennants separating element Zone within the exterior space of the housing precinct Zone within the collective space of the building 1

2

3

What is made visible in this chart is the number of elements that are present in the different projects before the boundary from the public zone towards the private zone is reached. This border differs and also the amount of elements that are open or closed in it. 4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Rue de l’Ourcq Timberyard P10 Piazza CÊramique Schots 2 Schots 1 Golden Lane

Conclusion The border zone consists of elements that compose the transitional zone. Each case study handles this in a different way. But to clarify the private zone, elements are used in all of them to create a separation between public and private. As can be seen, at least one separating element is visible in each transit zone. It can also be observed that in instances where courtyards are visually open to the surrounding urban context, such as Timberyard and Piazza Ceramique, the interior space of the precinct offers little allure or hindrance. Most of the amenities, park space and benches, for example, are placed out in the public space, and thus buffer by focusing occupation away from the semi-private space of the precinct. In contrast, developments that internalize public program, in the manner of P10 does, establish intensely varigated interiors to buffer from the public who are able to access. Golden Lane does so as well, but also as a defensive reaction to its exceptionally dense urban context.

26


Analysis 2 - Distribution of elements Connecting Elements

Rue de L’Ourcq

Timberyard housing

P10

Separating Elements 1. No Walls - Atrium - Open space (internal / external) - Open green space - Gallery - Pedestrian street - Pedestrian arcade - Sidewalk 2. Short Distances - Bridge 3. Low Speeds - Soft materials - Seating

Rue de L’Ourcq

Timberyard Housing

P10

4. One Level Piazza Ceramique

Piazza Ceramique

Golden lane estate

6. Active Functions - Cafes - Stores - Community facilities - Sport facilities

2. Long Distances - Uninterrupted sidewalk - Water area 3. High Speeds

4. Multiple Levels - Elevators - Stairs - Ramps 5. Orientation away from others

5. Orientation toward others - Vista Schots 1 & 2

1. Walls - Enclosed space (Corridor, Passage, etc) - Archway - Perimeter walls - Gate - Door

Schots 1 & 2

6. Passive Functions

Golden lane estate

Summary Conclusion Many elements are creating boundaries or transitions to otherto spaces. ‘Wall’-elements are present,are marking thethat different physically and visually, but Many elements are creating boundaries or transitions otherMany spaces. Many ‘Wall’-elements present markspaces the different spaces alsothrough elements that arediscontinuity only physical boundaries. The multitude andwith thickness the lines, showThe themultitude popularity and in using the several elements to demarcate physical but this is often combined visualofdiscontinuity. thickness of the lines shows the fre-space. Also levels are an important feature in separating different areas. The amount of connecting and separating elements is similair, with a little more separating, quency in use of the various elements to demarcate space. Also levels are an important feature in separating different areas. The number of than connecting elements. This shows the importance of demarcating the spaces with architectural elements.

27

connecting and separating elements is similair, with maringally more separating than connecting elements. This shows a slight bias towards demarcating spaces in favor of private interest.


Summary Rue de L’Ourcq | Paris | Philippe Gazeau Small Scale | Postal worker housing + Cafe Two vertical and physical separating elements, stairs and the gate, make the inner court totally private, further assisted by a café on the ground level that invites and holds people out front of the building.

Timberyard Housing | Dublin | O’Donnell + Tuomey Small Scale | Collective housing + Community facility Despite being hidden by buildings and narrow side-walks, the courtyard opens up directly on to the street. With so little to buffer it from public access the window facades around it serve to focus views inwards, establishing a visually accessible and safe environment.

Piazza Ceramique | Maastricht | Jo Janssen architecten Middle Scale | Collective housing + Offices In this residential area, there are plentiful open spaces. But, combining with other elements like walls, the endless use of brick, stairs and passive functions those open spaces take on a monolithic and tranquil character: it is less livable compared to other cases.

Conclusion What is to be concluded from this research is that it is evident that the public space, and with it the boundary between public and private, is engaged in a dialogue of opposing values. Architectural elements are employed as the language of this debate; a debate biased toward values of privacy. This takes place through the use of physically and visually hindering elements, ‘hard edges’, or large transitional spaces, consisting of elements that separate physically but not visually, ‘soft edges’. The question we initially asked (What architectural elements are present between the public domain and the dwelling that connect or separate the space encountered) is answered by the catalogue of elements described on page 27. In concluding this research we can elaborate on this question by asking: How can the city become more active by employing architectural elements? We believe that by employing the ‘softer edges’ and by the design of more connecting elements, the city, and consequently its public space, can be engaged and used more profoundly than in its current state, where it, untill further notice remains within transit.

P10 | Split, Croatia | Studio Up Middle Scale | Collective housing + Shops & Offices P10 attempts to serve as public and private program on site and thus encapsulates a tightly bound series of separators to, in limited space, demarcate some degree of private territory beyond the public. Thought not heavily engaged with the street it is visual connections draw people in to the places for use.

Schots 1 & 2 | Groningen | S333 Large Scale | Collective housing + Various shops Each building’s scheme to keep privacy is unique: On ground level a pedestrian street with various shops create public feeling. In Schots 1, the door of collective housing operates as a strong separating element. But, in Schots 2, several level changes and the long distance to dwellings serve to separate though the courtyard is opened up.

Golden Lane Estate | London | Chamberlin, Powell and Bon Large Scale | Collective housing + Shops + Various facilities A lot of active functions with open spaces in Golden Lane work as connecting elements. Though several level changes and narrow paths work as separating tools, there is an extensive network of semi-public areas contained with it, thus fostering a stable, insular environment in the center of London.

28


The Archipelago and the Urban Island Implications for Architecture in a Reading of the Contemporary City

Franz Greenwood

It can be argued that the space in and around buildings, constricted by claims by private interest, is left to serve only the mono-functional role of circulation. Its condition denies the possibility of alternative use in any public or private capacity and thus often fails to illicit the attention and care of those who have no choice but to use it. Maarten Hajer and Arnold Reijndorp confront this scenario in their writing on public space. They make the observation that ‘public space turns out, in reality, barely to function as a public domain; rather it is a transit zone between enclaves of different variations on ‘our kind of people”1. This interpretation of urban space has further foundation in the metaphor of the archipelago. Whether the term is an architectural double entendre (‘archi’-pelago. Pelago rooted in the Greek word for sea. An ocean of architecture?) or to be understood simply as a descriptive label it nonetheless renders an image of the city as a few disparate islands of interest beset by an ocean of the utterly unremarkable. This paper will look at the contrasting readings of the archipelago as an idea and urban model, what it implies about the current state of the city, and ultimately, if this model is indeed an accurate reading of current urbanity, how does architecture not only reinforce this reading but also serve to improve it. Interpretations of an urban model In Pier Vittorio Aureli’s paper, Towards the Archipelago, he depicts several renditions of utopian city planning proposals which produce a condition he coins ‘bad infinite’; a condition of interminable urban expansion enabled by an infinitely reproducible, borderless, urban model, typified by Archizoom’s No Stop City 2. Koolhaas’ City of the Captive Globe, a reading of New York, stands as ideological antithesis to this bad infinity as it establishes the possibility of difference within the generic grid: the enclave, an island of internalized difference. This reading of the metropolis, first to garner the term ‘archipelago’, suggests the possibility that the network of roads that literally drives urban expansion, present in earlier models, has now diminished to the role of substrate upon which ‘islands’ sit.

29

1 2

Hajer and Rijndorp 2001: 84 Aureli 2008: 100-104


It expresses a greater autonomy of the block from the network that connects it to others. However, the model is remarkable also for the manner by which this autonomy is represented. Each block appears as an expressionless plinth of dark stone of typical Manhattan scale topped by an assortment of decontextualized utopian icons of art and architecture. Thus each block expresses difference but in being equally unique each still remains a part of a generic condition, each a strong idealistic expression reduced to a single shout in the din of the crowd. That these ‘enclaves’ “develop inwardly as a totally indoor space”3, bears comparison not only to Manhattan in the 1970s but also Paris’ La Defense, Dubai or other ‘special economic zones’ around the world, that make unmistakable the corporate tendency to continually differentiate. Such enclaves stand in isolation however, different in and of themselves, divorced from any associative meaning in the city, and thus unable to truly participate in that which truly makes difference in a city possible. The ‘park of the captive globe’ serves as a counterpoint to this homogeneity, Aurelli states, similar to central park’s relationship with Manhattan.4 An emptiness juxtaposed against the rationalist pattern of urbanization. Unger’s theoretical project, Berlin as Green Archipelago, is at once an elaboration on this juxtaposition and an exaggeration of it. The archipelago manifest in his reading of the city bears some similarity to Koolhaas’ in the way in which the enclaves associate with the substrate by establishing “a clear agonistic space that turns urbanization into a polis: a city evoked not through its totality but through the confrontation of its parts.” 5 The parts in this case are very clearly defined through the contrast of the surrounding wilderness. This serves to nurture and reinforce the singularity of each enclave while the obliteration of the ever expanding urban network halts what Aureli sees as the conduit by which capitalism perpetuates urban homogeneity.6 Interestingly, it allows the emptiness that still characterizes many parts of modern Berlin to be the main ordering (perhaps more aptly, disordering) principle for the city’s 3 4 5 6

Aureli 2008: 107 Ibid: 105-106 Ibid: 115 Ibid: 101

plan. While Koolhaas refers to Ungers’ phrase, ‘cities within the city’ to describe his own project also, Berlin as Green Archipelago is a literal representation of that metaphor. Rather than emphasizing the homogeneity of a collection of different enclaves by juxtaposing with the emptiness of the Captive Globe park the empty park takes on the role of, and essentially replaces, the infrastructural network, further reinforcing the difference of each enclave on the urban scale. At once each enclave is severed from the network, thus becoming units of greater autonomy than those in Koolhaas’ model. This dissolution of the infrastructure of the city serves to reinforce the claim that public space has ceased to function as such and remains a transit zone while the enclave escalates in significance. As if to emphasize its uselessness the space which once held public life is returned to the primordial woods it had successfully held back for centuries. Most readings of the archipelago bear some resemblance to the model laid out, most recently, by Hajer and Reijndorp in their book In Search of New Public Domain. They describe the archipelago as a series of places of a seemingly psychological or phenomenological nature, existing, to a great degree, as the experience of urban places than the physical typology of the places themselves.7 Though enclaves still, in this reading, depend on a road network to enable urban growth, its pivotal role as the ordering principle behind the city has diminished. Instead cultural and technological factors are emphasized. The road network is short-circuited by the cell phone, GPS, the speed and ubiquity of public transit, and though not mentioned, the internet. Enclaves are thus determined along the same lines that Ungers uses – establishing criteria, picking and choosing – but in a democratized process of “individual spatial planning” 8. Enclaves join to form archipelagos as people react to diminished security, quality and convenience amongst a city of incoherent parts by establishing socially and culturally homogenous enclaves. It is in this way that the network of enclaves is manifest more so in the mind than physically. Without the need or reason to dismantle the city, as Ungers’ planned, people thus try to make some sense of an often overly complex 7 8

Hajer and Rijndorp 2001: 49-69 Ibid: 56

30


system by selective experience, by being both inclusive of some areas while ensuring the avoidance of others,9 in effect, treating the city as a consumer would a purchase, to yield the most gratification while avoiding that which does not appeal to them. The relationship of the part to the whole is the same which characterizes the enclave of Koolhaas. All these distinct locales interconnected by a network become, in some respect, become outwardly homogenous (suburbia being an all too apt example). This consumer behavior is thus a manner by which people can understand and use the city to their satisfaction. The proposition that the individual consumer daily dons the mantle of city planner, that the city is now shaped subjectively by individual desire, reinforces the ideas of Richard Sennett in his book, Fall of Public Man. Sennett focuses on the fear of the impersonal and unknown, born from the ever increasing value placed on intimacy that has “distorted our understanding of the purposes of the city“10. This not only provides the reasoning behind what motivates people to ‘consume’ public space but furthermore explains the continual profitability of the homogenous suburban enclaves typical of consumer societies. This malformed expectation that the community and city should be places of emotionally meaningful interaction with ‘our kind of people’ could be, within the framework of Hajer and Reijndorp’s public theory, the psychological motive behind society’s inclination to form such enclaves. As previously cited, public space has become the vestigial organ of cities which now favor the enclave as the space for meaningful encounters, driven by desire to reinforce a sense of self through an avoidance of that which might threaten to destabilize it. Issues of scale – Architecture and people in the archipelago If the archipelago is an idea that describes the city as a conglomeration of enclaves – irreducible units assembled by personal experience or the exacting criteria of a city planner – what 31

9 10

Hajer and Arnold Rijndorp: 56-57 Sennett 1974: 339

might the architectural composition of such places be? Whereas Koolhaas’ city is a deliberately depicted composition of metaphorical architecture Ungers’ green archipelago links the metaphorical image of a city as archipelago with physical architecture. An architecture to accomplish the task of staying unbridled urbanization. Aureli calls this situation ‘architecture as the precondition to urbanization,’11 thus implying that the drawbacks to urbanization cannot be solved by city planning, that cities should be built around their architecture. By employing the local as the new generative cell the green archipelago sets the conditions for such a possibility. This model, of clearly defined architectural islands, is unique in the way in which it concentrates architecture as that which defines not only the enclave, but also the entirety of the city itself, beyond which lies only the forest(or the ruins of former parts of the city). This effectively avoids or perhaps solves the scenario played out in Koolhaas’ and Hajer and Reijndorp’s model, wherein architecture becomes subordinate to either the mechanistic forces of urbanization or the fluidity of personal preference and fashion. The criteria by which Ungers delineates these islands are based on “a careful historical selection that amplifies their ideological and imaginative meaning within the political geography of the city. Each island is thus seen as a potential site for city consciousness that can support the part’s identity” 12. This claim is remarkable in that the imaginative and experiential qualities of the architecture are employed in order to define an enclave and in doing so reinforce the contrast between enclaves. This contrast helps to clarify the image of the greater whole, thus making the distinguishing differences between enclaves that quality which makes them significant to the overall composition but also to the distinction of each enclave respectively. This again has similarities with Hajer and Reijndorp’s observation of the thematization of place, places made unique through explicit definition, to intentionally exploit the nature of what might best be called consumer urbanism13 Still, in this case, 11 12 13

Aureli 2008: 118 Ibid.: 115 Hajer and Rijndorp 2001: 57


architecture is the precondition for urbanization. What might best characterize an approach to an architecture of the enclave? Both Hajer , Reijndorp and Aureli address this question. Hajer and Reijndorp begin with a simple suggestion that pertains more to the design of the space between buildings than the buildings directly but which nonetheless is a reaction to their idea of the archipelago. Firstly, they assert the need for the experience of difference in the city14, a confrontation with change and challenges to one’s own ingrained expectation. Themeing, compressing and connecting are three design criteria which they present as guides to the design of public domain 15. Themeing, it is explained, involves the development of aspects of meaning for a specific group. Compressing, the concentration of various elements which have significance to various groups. Connecting as in ways to link different spaces. Through the case study of Tompkins Square Park these criteria are employed in an unorthodox fashion with apparent success16. A large expanse of unused generic park space was divided by fences into smaller areas and became immediately attractive to a diversity of users. Though not mentioned this seems a striking parallel to the archipelago model albeit on a diminished scale, as places where sociability between known members of a group can comfortably take place once boundaries are established. They admit this model contravenes most commonly accepted models of design; fluid space, openness, neutrality and collectivity is instead replaced by borders, territorialization, separation 17. Aureli too places importance on the establishment of difference and the clear expression of borders by suggesting that an ‘absolute’ architecture of the archipelago be that which ‘is defined by, and makes clear the presence of borders across the city.’18 Thus, by being remarkable within a certain context, by reinforcing the distinctions which create places of meaningful difference. It is difficult to ascertain to what degree this contextuality extends, or if Aureli would necessarily call it by that name. Perhaps 14 15 16 17 18

Ibid: 68 Ibid: 117 Ibid: 120-121 Ibid: 121 Aureli 2008: 118

what is most important is that architecture should be employed collectively to make cities. This effort can begin through small scale initiatives rather than through the hegemonic forces of economy and comprehensive city planning. Jan Gehl in his book Life Between Buildings assists in informing the design of this smaller scale. His writing, based on acute observation, looks not only at spaces but the public within those spaces, a focus which pairs well with Reijndorp and Hajer’s assessment of human experience of the city. He advocates for the re-emergence of the street specifically as a place for public life and interaction19 but also looks into the semi-private spaces in and around housing. Though Hajer and Reijndorp present the withdrawal of public life from the street to the enclave with an air of scientific objectivity, Gehl implies the decline of street life is a problem and one directly related to the increasingly private nature of public life, of which the enclave is a manifestation, drawing people off the street, leaving the public spaces of the city no more than transit corridors. His solution to this public decay is to draw people out on to the streets by making them habitable places once more, to produce places where they can sit, stand and meet each other in a positive environment; an idea which suggests, perhaps naively, that proper design can effectively reverse the changes public life and, consequently, cities have undergone In looking at the design of semi-public spaces around housing it is in this case that, for the private user, he advocates for a distance from the street. A series of demarcations between the the private and public space should be “indicated physically, but at the same time it is important that the indication is not so firm a demarcation that it prevents contact with the outside world”20. These demarcations establish what Gehl sees as a heirarchical system of spaces graduating from the private sphere of the home to the public domain of the street. He does not necessarily condemn the concept of the enclave through this statement but rather suggests ways of defending its most valued asset, its privacy, while suggesting the viability of unbroken access to the street. 19 20

Gehl 2010 Ibid: 61

32


Existing Architectures – Islands of inclusion/exclusion Up until now this paper has reviewed some contrasting readings of the archipelago, as a sociological entity, hypothetical urban place and critique of modern urbanism. The enclave has in these cases been referred to on the scale of neighborhood or district. However, we have seen that the architectural scale can effect how an enclave is perceived. To extend the metaphor even further, the term enclave can also be applied to single works of architecture as well. The building precinct is one such example. It refers to a space which attempts to foster this community cohesion sought in enclaves. A process, it could be argued, that happens more organically at the urban scale when distinct neighborhoods develop, but here contained within the boundaries of a building site., making it, ideally, less impersonal. It offers “the idea of a regular space that could contain within its boundaries many different functions pertaining to the establishment of the sense of community. Unlike many squares the precinct [is] a public space binding a community together with the potential of meeting”21. In effect, what the precinct accomplishes is the personalization (privatization) of public life, effectively facilitating “both emotional withdrawal from society and a territorial barricade within the city“ 22. This concept takes on many built forms. The closed city block, such as the courtyard buildings typical of Berlin bears this insular community building aspect, as do the gated community developments common to Britain and America. The enclave is symptomatic of a withdrawal from traditional notions of public life. Though concern has been expressed with this model of community where political interaction is conflated with personal interaction it is not a model which can be readily undone. It is evident that enclaves cannot simply be dissolved in order to depose this ‘tyranny of intimacy’23, as people desire a sense of community within the city which is not readily available, at therefore 33

21 22 23

Heathcoate 2004: 47 Sennett 1974: 301 Sennett: 337

must be tailored. More than a desire, it is, if we are to believe Hajer and Reijndorp, expected, as the very nature of the urban experience is the stitching together of locales that coincide with our notions of good people, or quality pass- times. If the enclave is the fixture of contemporary urban experience then it is within these confines that a reinvention must occur, or perhaps more importantly at border of the confines itself. Combining public function within self contained housing enclaves is not uncommon. It usually does so through the injection of some retail amenity, or, as in the case of the Barbican in London, several civic functions. However, Chamberlain, Powell and Bonn, the architects responsible for the Barbican were faced with the contradictory task of maintaining the enclave’s sense of community by attempting to extinguish the presence of first a girl’s school and later an arts complex located within it sheltered courtyards 24. As such it would appear the building has two different communities which lay claim to it, the dwellers, and the greater London area, if not the country at large. The enclave can thus be addressed at two scales, as it has throughout this paper; at the scale of the district, or neighborhood, and at that of the building, both in different ways, but both predicated on the formulation of an architecture that takes on responsibility for the shaping and experience of the city. Through the various readings discussed it is apparent that the district enclave serves to do just that. It serves to delineate borders within the city and create place. Without it the city risks becoming expanse of indefinite proportion and bland coherence. Architecture must exploit the difference and character of these districts. In this way it will make the borders apparent and consequently the urban character as a whole stands to benefit. On the scale of the building, the inverse is true. As the architectural enclave has been seen to reinforce desires that pull public life increasingly farther from public space, public space must become an ever present and formative aspect of such buildings. The borders of these buildings, which at once express a degree of privacy within can include a degree of porosity, through which the public can pass, so that the space defined therein is not so much interiority 24

Heathcoate 2004


but a space altogether ambiguous in its definition. In doing so, it can be hoped, the value placed on community cannot be reinforced within the confines of a housing project but throughout the enclave of the district, an enclave whose borders have been clarified and thus of greater significance to a sense community. This is not to say that privacy should be diminished but that the concentration of notions of community at the housing level should be degraded in favor of a wider community. The borders which define a dweller’s notion of locality and community can be eased outwards. This is a process of gradual drawing out to counter the inexorable retreat of public life to spaces of ever diminishing human interaction. In a lecture given by the urban planner Larry Beasley at the Netherlands Architectural Institute in 2009 he related a scenario in Vancouver, Canada, wherein people living in a high-rise neighborhood were all descending from their apartments to their cars, driving out to shop and then back again without ever once appearing in their neighborhood25. To take this analogy to its morbid extreme, it would be the ultimate failure of the city and architecture if the only space left remaining, where one can encounter the world of the impersonal, is in the confines one’s bedroom, as a voyeur on the internet.

25

Lecture given at the NAI, Rotterdam, Netherlands, September 29, 2009

Sources Aureli, Pier Vittorio. Toward the Archipelago. Log11: Fall 2008 Gehl, Jan. Life Between Buildings. Danish Architectural Press. Skive: 2010 Hajer, Maarten and Arnold Reijndorp. In Search of New Public Domain. 010 Publishing. Rotterdam: 2001 Heathcoate, David Heathcoate. Barbican: Penthouse Over the City. Wiley- Academy, Chichester: 2004 Sennett, Richard. The Fall of Public Man. W.W. Norton Company, New York: 1992

34


Boundaries That Connect

How Cultures can be Connected by Well-defined Public Spaces Celeste Asmus

In the city of the 21st century, disconnection is seen. A fragmented society is visible, with different cultures, classes and ethnicities living in separate neighbourhoods, going to separate schools, different markets and using different spaces of the city. This essay is written to address the issue of segregation of different cultures, with a focus on architecture. Even more specifically, it will propose an architectural design for a specific site in Berlin, where this contribution could be practically inserted. The essay will discuss several problems that generate this issue and the reason it can and should be addressed through architectural design. With this design proposal it can be attempted to contribute to reconnecting different cultures within a city neighbourhood. By looking at practical examples within cityscape and statements and texts from architectural discourse throughout the last fifty years a design proposal is made for a site on the banks of the river Spree, which lies in the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. This proposal will have an emphasis on the interweaving of the different cultures within the city through public space. Kreuzberg today

Public space and studied trust: chess in a New York park (photographer: M. Kaggan)

The neighbourhood of Kreuzberg of Berlin is an exemplary place of a neighbourhood that contains diversity in culture. After World War II the rebuilding of the heavily damaged district was severely regulated. Over the years, east Kreuzberg’s cheap housing attracted immigrants and counterculture artists and activists. The eastern part is the area with the largest contrasts, where artists reside together with the neighbourhood’s largest immigrant population. Whereas in the western part, gentrification is unavoidable.1 Though, even with the rising prizes of housing, the neighbourhood is an appealing one, for a multitude of culture to go live, that can diversify the neighbourhood even more. But it must be seen to, that the neighbourhood can stay in its current state of multicultural exchange, whilst developing the 1

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http://www.berlin-life.com/berlin/kreuzberg


neighbourhood in an architectural manner. Staying a place where different cultures can thrive, exchange and connect. Fascination: connecting cultures The inhabitants of Kreuzberg and Berlin generally go a step further than in William H. Whyte’s statement: ‘People sit where there is seating’.2 They create the space themselves, because there is no other option designed. Also in Kreuzberg these places of self appropriation can be found and if there are no squares, small streets or benches to sit on, what else to do than to take matters into your own hands and take a chair to an open spot nearby to claim it as a place for coming together with a group of friends, or play a game of chess, or have something to eat, and be a part of the public realm on their own terms. Living in the 21st century, means living in high density urban environments, where the access routes are economically minimized and therefore entirely mono-functional. The border between public and private is becoming consequently larger, because of the distancing in height and through different architectural elements. Even the streets are less of a public space, with people moving through them in their individual world, headphones on, telephone by hand. The mono-functionality of the transportation routes in the city, unquestionably leads to the lack of connection in the public. Whereas there used to be places for connection between people, for instance in the Greek agora, the Forum Romano or the Viennese coffeehouses, nowadays, people only connect within their own individual network. This issue assures the feeling of tension when confronted with ‘others’, people that are not included in the individual network and through this, tense issues of safety arise. There is a fragmentation seen that is leaning towards total segregation of groups, which is visible most clearly in the difference between cultures, which are either clashing or ignoring each other. People don’t connect to people from other cultures anymore, because they are not brought together in any way

2

Whyte, W.H., The social life of small urban spaces, movie,1988.

physically (through built form/open space), in the public realm. This is the reality of today’s cities and reconnection through architecturally designed buildings and space could be way of getting to place where more people can feel at home. While wanting the city to be open seems to be an excellent idea to connect people, the consequence of creating very large spaces often is that there are no places to appropriate anymore, no place to truly feel comfortable, because there is too much space. Boundaries in space are necessary in this case, but what to look at is the sort of boundaries we create with our architecture. Is it a boundary of the separating kind, or one that is of the connecting sort? As Herman Hertzberger says in his book Lessons for students in architecture: ‘Enclosedness and openness can each exist only by the grace of the other.’3 Public realm: places to meet As stated earlier in the introduction, there is a diminishing amount of chance encounters and interaction in public space and between different cultures. Those encounters that we need in addition to comfort ourselves with the fact that we are not alone and to present ourselves to others in a formal manner, which is discussed by many theorists to be of the utmost importance to establish an identity, these events of encounter take place in the public realm. This public realm that is shrinking, by way of privatisation of spaces, the increasing popularity of ‘virtual space’ of networks, an increase of high speed traffic, economic strains and monofunctionality, and through this shrinkage of space, leaving people without having a sense of identity that is related to the city or the neighbourhood, depriving them of the opportunity of feeling at home in the city. Hannah Arendt discusses the public realm in her book, The Human Condition, as being ‘the only place where men could show who they really and inexchangeably were’4, showing the importance of people

3

Hertzberger, H., Lessons for students in Architecture, p.202.

4

Arendt, H., The human condition, p.41.

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being out in public and connecting with others, by showing them their identity. Furthermore, she states in the book, that ‘No activity can become excellent if the world does not offer a proper space for its exercise.’5 This statement shows what architecture can contribute to different cultures by giving each a sense of place within the city and connecting with each other. For, in my opinion, it is the activity of different cultures that give diversity to the city and enliven it, and all cultures should be given the opportunity for activity in public space, to enhance it with their different lifestyles and characteristics. Another element to infuse public activity, which can be created by way of architectural design, is shown by William H. Whyte, in his movie, the social life of small urban spaces. The element that I am referring to is the importance of a visual connection to open spaces, and between different open spaces, to create these places as places where people can linger, or meet, and thus participate in public life. Where there is a visual connection, people will be more inclined to go out into the public space and participate. Less and less of these places for undemanding meeting of other people exist. Where in past centuries there was the Greek Agora, the Roman Forum and the Viennese coffeehouse, nowadays, there are no such defined public spaces to meet others. All that is left to use as such space is the space defined for transport and access from dwelling to work or commercial spaces. Although there are many contributing factors to the demise of public space, only a few of them that are exemplary, in my opinion, will be highlighted and discussed in this essay; the gentrification and social networks, the car, the economy, safety and monofunctionality Problem #1: Gentrification: social networks When you observe where people go to live, there are arising creative neighbourhoods all around the world, where there is a mix of people from different classes, that form a connected neighbourhood, where space is used in different ways because of the cross-pollination of

5

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Arendt, H., The human condition, p.49.

cultures. Mostly these neighbourhoods are enlivened by immigration of cultures throughout history using their talent for trade and small businesses to give a boom to society. Nowadays enriched with the creative class and young people with money that want to come live in these neighbourhoods, together they make for an vivacious public sphere. While this change in population is in progress, there comes a point where it is at its peak in diversity and liveability. After this decisive point, the gentrification of these neighbourhoods is moving too far as to the point where the lower income groups can not afford to live in the neighbourhood anymore and are forced to move, which degrades the atmosphere in the neighbourhood to the point where it becomes a less unique and wanted environment to live. Sometimes there are developments of gated communities or baugruppe, which can evoke a feeling of alienation towards other cultures, because of the use of space by only one class or culture. These spaces and buildings become isolated from the public city life. Different neighbourhoods already have different characters that together conjure up the city feel. Most cities have certain multicultural neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods for artists, student, ‘upper class’, etc. And where there is a mix of cultures, the neighbourhood becomes more popular. That is, until the point where a certain group eliminates the ‘original inhabitants’ and the neighbourhood becomes less attractive again. Without the diversity in culture, cities would degenerate into a bland mash of unused sameness. So this process should stop before it goes in this direction. The need for diversity is also discussed by Jane Jacobs in her book ‘the death and life of great American cities’, where she writes the following about the subject: ‘… we need all kinds of diversity, intricately mingled in mutual support. We need this so city life can work decently and constructively, and so the people of cities can sustain (and further develop) their society and civilization.’ 6 Gentrification is to some extend also related to social networks, which have a newfound individual aspect, in comparison to the

6

Jacobs, J., The life and death of great American cities, p. 241.


public space keeping hold of the social networks as in earlier times, where public space was necessary to keep contact between people. In these times, there is virtual space, keeping many conversations and opportunities for contact out of the public realm. Next to that, people have larger social networks, through all the technological features facilitating contact from a larger distance. This ensures the contact on a network basis, but it reduces the chance of someone taking the time to have contact with someone outside of this network. Problem #2: Car: high speed traffic zones When the car became the main source of transportation, more roads for fast traffic were also arising. Nowadays, roads for high speed traffic are impossible to avoid in city life. Even more high speed traffic roads are planned, which will lead to even more cars within the city boundaries. The problem of the car in connection to contact between cultures is that public space becomes less, and, with this, also becomes less active. People can not visually establish the same amount of contact at car speed. They don’t have time to recognize a person as they would have, when moving at the normal walking or running speed of 5 to 15 km/h.7 Through this reduction of visual connection in the public realm, the space that is taken in for this high speed transportation, takes away from the public space. Problem #3: Economy: privatisation of spaces In light of the recent and the current development of cities, a clear similarity can be seen. A direction of building more economically and more efficiently is apparent, which among other things leads to resorting to high-rise buildings as a solution to the high prices of land use. This solution is interconnected with issues regarding safety, culture and aesthetics. Then there is the fact that the economy is changing in to a privatised sector. In the area of public space, this

7

Gehl, J., Life between buildings, p.69.

means commercialised street facades, overtaking public space with, for instance, terraces. Problem #4: Safety: isolation of space Within the city of today there is an enormous emphasis on safety, often brought in connection with the differentiation of people. There are neighbourhoods established with good or bad ‘vibes’. This is creating a feeling of unsafeness for ‘strangers’ that are from a different part of town, or simply from another culture. This is partly instigated by the creation of gated communities, the placement of gates around parks and camera’s above shopping areas. It is assumed that people want gated communities, safety camera’s and gates, all for the feeling of safety. While it is also said, by others, that these far going measurements against violence and criminality, establish the opposite. It can also turn into a place where it is easier to isolate people, and criminals could take advantage of this. An enclosed feeling of an uncomforting sort would be the result. On top of this it also leads to less interaction between people and activity of people, since there is no freedom to decide on one’s own, which way to go, when there is a gate in front of one’s nose. Distance is made in both a physical as a visual manner. Problem #5: Monofunctionality: the access route The most cases of neglected space are seen in the space of the access routes to the dwelling within larger residential buildings, which went up into the air. This is the consequence of the high rise projects that are the city. This often results in a project with empty alleyways, dark corridors, unused staircases and other unused, blank space. The mono-functionality of the access in residential building blocks of today makes for unused spaces that deteriorate the living quality of residents. Their participation in the upkeep of these spaces is lost because there is no function to the space other than moving 38


towards the dwelling or towards the destination within the city. They do not feel connected to it in an individual manner, but neither do they in a collective manner. Architectural translation: separating elements It is evident that there are many more issues resulting from the ones stated above, or instigating these same issues, that are inherent to the demise of public space. The mentioned problems are chosen to discuss, because they can all lead to the addition of architectural elements that separate spaces, with a hard boundary, instead of connecting them. And this strict separation function is contributing to the reduction of places to meet, that can be employed to keep the trust between different cultures alive. The separation by gentrification is seen in the monotonous use of space in a certain neighbourhood. There is only one type of activity related to public space in a certain neighbourhood, because there is only one culture represented. The separation of space by car is very clearly the increasing amount of traffic roads that fill the public space, and next to that, people don’t use any transitional space to get to their car, to get to work. Public space is lost in a scenario where cars are overly present in the city. The third problem stated, the economy separating space, is also creating a physical separation, the distance created by economical high-rise is too large to bridge. The problem of safety creates separating elements by use of gates, walls and similar elements to safeguard space from being entered. The access route in itself is often a separating element; there can be level changes, distances to bridge or walls that prevent space from being used in different ways, or by different people. Where boundaries used to be simple and clear, they are now unconquerable. Old cities where filled with squares, slow traffic streets and visual connections. Put together, they created meeting points and comforting spaces. The difference between these old cities, which encapsulated all these elements, and the cities of today

is illustrated in Jan Gehl’s book, life between buildings. 8 He also says talks about boundaries here: ‘It is… important that transitions,…, are indicated physically, but at the same time it is important that the indication is not so firm a demarcation that it prevents contact with the outside world’. 9 Which can be said to be valid in the opposite direction, from public towards private, as well. Proposal: multifunctional spaces Different practical ‘solutions’ have been optioned by architects to deal with the demise of public space. The Unite d’habitation by Le Corbusier and The Robin hood gardens by Peter and Allison Smithson, are examples of how architects tried to come up with an idea of how to use the street again and give it back its vivacity. The street as we used to know it is probably not retrievable in its original form, there is no space for it in the current high density, multicultural city. Better, after the experiments with living streets and vertical towns, it can be attempted to design a new kind of access through and from the neighbourhood, towards the dwelling, adapted to high density and with architecturally designed access spaces with multifunctional purposes. And by creating this diversity in space, contributing to creating a place where people feel at home in the city. Multifunctional spaces can be used by different groups of people, at different times or by different groups of people at the same time. Also, when these spaces are situated in the neighbourhood of dwelling complexes, the use of the designed space as access route can be a consequence that connects different uses. By creating spaces that are defined clearly as a space, but not as a function, a multitude of activities can take place there. For instance a food market or a dance event can use the same space, and through these architectural interventions, also different cultures can connect by sharing space. Where there is connection to the public sphere in the spaces we have to pass through to get to

8 9

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Gehl, J., Life between buildings, p. 84, 110, 139, 148-151. Gehl, J., Life between buildings, p. 61.


our home, there is more social control and people feel at home in an environment that is actively used by others as well as themselves by making it their own. By attributing several functions to a place, or making it suitable for use in a multitude of ways, the time of use will be increased and thus also the vivacity of the space will increase:10 Connect Kreuzberg Kreuzberg is a multicultural neighbourhood that fits the description of an urban place where disconnection can become an issue. Gentrification has already made an entrance to the neighbourhood, and at this point, there is still a mixed cultural experience when observing the neighbourhood. By creating connective spaces in the neighbourhood and on the site, the structure of the neighbourhood as it exists can be kept, in all its diversity and vivacity. By incorporating connections through a diversity of spaces with a well defined boundary that is not of the separating kind, visual connections can be utilized in the outdoor space of the neighbourhood. The idea of shared space that can be accessed by the public, and enliven the neighbourhood, should be exploited. By using the access routing for these connective and multipurpose additions one of the most important spaces is seen to in the design; the spaces that are used by the dweller and the passerby, the worker and the stay-at-home-dad, the sportsman and the artist, all cultures will be able to use this web of connective spaces through transit. When moving towards home, people will meet a sequence of boundaries that connect.

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Sources Arendt, H., The human condition. 1998, Chicago:The University of Chicago Press. p.1-78. Gehl, J., Life between buildings. Sixth ed. 2010, Copenhagen: Danish Architectural press. 199 p. Hertzberger, H., Lessons for students in architecture. 1991, Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010. 272 p. Jacobs, J., The death and life of great American cities. 1961, New York: Random House. 448 p. Whyte, W.H., The social life of small urban spaces. 1988. p. 00:59 hr. www.berlin-life.com/berlin/kreuzberg

Gehl, J., Life between buildings, p. 182-185.

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Within Transit: Public/Private Connection in Urban Enclaves  

An architectural case study of public/private space in mixed use residential architecture.

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