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PUBLIC SPACE AND THE URBAN FABRIC

VARIETY OF

SPANISH STEPS - ROME, ITALY

SPACES

FOR PEOPLE

STREETS

PUBLIC SPACE

Trent Matthias - VIRGINIA TECH CAUS European Study Abroad Trip 2012

STRUCTURE

PLACES FOR PEOPLE

ROME

LYON

BAGNIA

VENICE

SIENA

PIENZA

MILAN


“IN A QUALITY CITY, A PERSON SHOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE THEIR ENTIRE LIFE WITHOUT A CAR,

AND NOT FEEL DEPRIVED” PAUL BEDFORD

Sempione Park, MILAN ITALY

S PAC ES (PUBLIC)

PARK NEIGHBORHOOD PLAZA URBAN PIAZZA NARROW SMALL LARGE OPEN NATURAL SEMI PRIVATE GATHERING COMMUNITY SQUARE EVENT INTERACTIVE PEOPLE

In the 21st century, we design our cities to accommodate an ever increasing number of processes, objects, and activities. Unfortunately, in many cases, the people who design, cultivate, and preserve these places have overlooked the simple fact that above all else, a city is a place for people. When one begins to scour the globe in search of “great cities”, it becomes clear that each successful place consistently provides a clear, connected, and diverse public space network. It is within this network that the rich series of social interactions that strengthen an urban fabric can occur. The following pages investigate the component parts that together define a successful public structure, and explore the implications of these structures for defining a prosperous, thriving, and beautiful place to live. ITALY

FRANCE

BELGIUM

NETHERLANDS

Paris, France

GERMANY


SPACES (PUBLIC)

PIAZZA MATTEI

ROME, ITALY

Nestled within the dense urban fabric, one finds a place of rest, a place to interact, and a place to live. Compact spaces like Piazza Mattei in Rome become integral to the daily lives of urban residents. Both vehicular and pedestrian traffic are accommodated and spatial uses are delineated by carefully placed landscape elements.

SPACES (PUBLIC)

PIAZZA DEL CAMPO

SIENA, ITALY

The Piazza Del Campo is clearly the primary public space in Siena. This medieval square provides the ultimate example of loose / flexible public space in the city. This space functions as a gathering place, a location of rest and pause, a thoroughfare, and even as a theatre. Torre del Mangia anchors the space, the asymmetrical radiating geometry reaches out from its base. The lesson learned here : less is more in the urban core of a dense fabric.

GEOMETRY DERIVED FROM ENTRANCES

GATHERING

MOVEMENT

90’

STOPPING DRAINAGE

70’ MOVING

PIAZZA MATTEI

CIRCULATION - USE PATTERNS


SPACES (PUBLIC)

SPACES (PUBLIC)

LINEAR RESIDENTIAL PARK

SIENA, ITALY

This quiet residential area is served by a compact and effective pocket park. Here we see a safe place for children to play, an intriguing solution to a topographic change as well as plant material as a creator of space. The iconic Torre del Mangia beckons the eye around the curve and into the urban fabric, framed by deep yellows and lush greens.

PIAZZA SAN MARCO

VENICE, ITALY

Venice possesses a unique spatial sequence worth studying. To greet the grand Piazza San Marco, one makes their way into the dense pedestrian fabric, progressing through multiple scales of urban space, criss crossing canals and weaving through corridors, finally arriving at a grand public space complete with exquisite architecture and a terminus at the shoreline. The magic is in the journey, and the careful placement and delineation of this space secures its value for the city.

PARK PLAN

spatial sequence

division of space

island view


SPACES (PUBLIC)

PIAZZA SAN LORENZO

MILAN, ITALY

History is a powerful design tool. In the case of the city of Milan, historical buildings, medieval gates, and fragments of the past are integral to the fabric of the city. This particular piazza is a stunning marriage of transportation networks, historical structures and places for people. The Colonne di San Lorenzo, a series of aincient columns creates a semi permeable edge to the piazza, a place to sit, and a beautiful division of space between new and old.

CANAL EDGE

GENT, BELGIUM

In urban environments, spaces that fit the scale of a human being become exceedingly necessary in the proportions of the city. Here in Gent Belgium, one finds a place to quickly regress from the stately architectural elements in the urban core and connect with the landscape. This cozy spot boasts a soft vegetated edge, a people watching opportunity (bridge adjacent), as well as a comfortable seat of refuge upon a small stone terrace that disappears into the water.

PIAZZA PLAN

St. Lorenzo Church

WINDOWS

TRAM LINE

SPACES (PUBLIC)

bridge

site


SPACES (PUBLIC)

CULTUURPARK

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Expansive open natural areas have been proven to be critical outlets for a crowded, dense urban environment. Cultuurpark boast a strong axis that facilitates a wide range of recreational opportunities. The manipulation of landform is the most significant design element on this site, as the level changes not only delineate the circulatory structure but establish larger spatial hierarchies critical to site programming. Immersion in nature is a clear by-product of this design language.

SPACES (PUBLIC)

RIVIERENBUURT COMMUNITY

Public space not only serves its explicit purpose as a place for people to be, but can begin to establish a greater order for the urban fabric. The dense Rivierenbuurt development on the south side of Amsterdam utilizes strong axial movement systems in conjunction with carefully located public spaces to facilitate a rhythmic and effective community fabric. axial order

landform hierarchy

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS


SPACES (PUBLIC)

RESIDENTIAL SPACE

DUISBERG, GERMANY

Each public space created has a unique opportunity to educate people through the design of the space. This residential landscape in Duisberg cycles groundwater through the canal, cleansing, recharging, and oxygenating this precious resource. Signage on site tells the tale of this process, bringing people to a higher level of consciousness about water and its role in the landscape. The result is a strikingly clean, healthy, and generally rejuvenating resource for this community..

SPACES (PUBLIC)

VASCO DE GAMA PLATZ

HAMBURG, GERMANY

Hamburg’s Hafen City project has established public space as a very critical component of the urban fabric. The topographic variation from the center of the streets down to the canals provides both opportunities and challenges. This platz is nestled in between residential buildings, and utilizes the topographic changes on the site to delineate its many uses. Material changes, planting design, abstract structures, and site furnishings further define the active and passive spaces.

H20 materials

passive

active


SPACES (PUBLIC)

ALSTER LAKE

HAMBURG, GERMANY

Water is a precious resource. Hamburg is a city that understands this statement, evidenced by the sizeable Alster Lake located directly adjacent to the urban core. A public edge has developed along this body of water, and it is widely functional as a recreational interface. However, the true magic of this lake is not in its physical use for activity, but is found in the visual outlet this landscape provides. A wonderful combination of dynamic and static patterns define this experience.

“ A STREET IS A SPATIAL ENTITY AND NOT THE RESIDUE BETWEEN BUILDINGS” ANONYMOUS

Rome, Italy

STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

motion in the landscape

MATERIAL PROMENADE SEATING SHADE CAR TRAM SHARED WATER TREES PEOPLE BOAT BALCONY ENCLOSURE SKY TERMINUS PAVING FURNITURE SHARED CONNECT


STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

CORSO COMO

MILAN, ITALY

This is a pedestrian-only thoroughfare located adjacent to the Garibaldi train station in Milan, Italy. Here, one bears witness to an exemplary marriage of new and old, as the geometry of the Porto Garibaldi is extrapolated out into the street and gives order to this popular, comfortable, dynamic place for people.

STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

THE STREETS OF ROME

ROME, ITALY

Rome can be characterized in an experiential sense as a city of compression and release. It is inside the dense street fabric that one is greeted with streets at the true scale of a human being. As the medieval fabric winds and turns, anticipation builds as the next incredible space is undoubtedly waiting ahead. Inside this compressive network, one comes into contact with the sun and sky in an extraordinary experience.

SKY

roman streets :

compression + detail

LIGHT

SHADOW


STREETS

STREETS

(FOR PEOPLE)

CANALS

VENICE, ITALY

LINEAR

E XPERIENCE

MAP PING

Venice brings an incredibly unique set of experiential conditions to the table in terms of a connective structure for a city. Water adds a clear modifier in terms of both the experience of being in a vessel and on foot, and by nature creates two “separate” circulation systems. The result of these conditions is a clear rhythmic experience, punctuated by the intersections of systems at which a number of delightful variables are consistently changing and altering the linear experience.

INTERSECT

REFLECT

(FOR PEOPLE)

CORSO SEMPIONE

MILAN, ITALY

Terminating a street is no small task. Too often, modern development fails to consider the visual and physical necessities for a street terminus, especially in the case of grand boulevards and promenades. Corso Sempione in Milan gives its travelers worthy visual ending to a grand boulevard, and in doing so not only terminates the street but forms a public gateway to Milan’s premier urban park space, Sempione park.


STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

WATERFRONT

LEON, FRANCE

SAONE RIVER

In places where water was historically a catalyst for the expansion of a community, it is clear that the importance of spaces and thoroughfares associated with waterways will always be a critical component to the urban fabric. In Lyon, an extensive pedestrian network adjacent to the Saone River has begun to take shape on the ground of old commercial and industrial sites. Re purposing the waters edge for people as public connective tissue is a successful idea.

STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

AVENUE DES CHAMPS ELYSEES

PARIS, FRANCE

The descriptor “grand” is an understatement with regards to this iconic french thoroughfare. Punctuated by the Arc de Triomphe, this street makes a commanding role in ordering the city. A right of way of over 200’ is divided into active vehicular and pedestrian uses as well as passive uses. This street is a critical component in the spine of Paris, and can handle the daily strain of thousands upon thousands of people within its boundaries.


STREETS

STREETS

(FOR PEOPLE)

ROOSEVELTLAAN

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Wide streets by nature accommodate a variety of transportation methods. In order to create comfortable environments and separations that increase the quality of the thoroughfare, vegetation should be a primary design element. Rooseveltlaan separates the neighborhood edges of this street from the larger scale transportative core with generous vegetative strips and stately trees. This division is critical to the sense of livability of this street.

(FOR PEOPLE)

HAFENCITY DEVELOPMENT

HAMBURG, GERMANY

When planning transportation networks, we have become accustomed in this modern age to giving the car priority over people. Hafencity, Hamburg’s impressive new waterfront development begins to reverse this trend. A large quantity of pedestrian-only infrastructure has been created in order to ensure safe and effective passage between destinations. A clear balance has been established between both cars and people.


STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

UNTER DEN LINDEN

BERLIN, GERMANY

In a grand promenade, there are a wide variety of ways to incorporate pedestrian space, both active and passive. Unter Den Linden draws from its terminus, the infamous Brandenburg Gate, and takes an intriguing approach to incorporating space for people in the street by placing it in the center. A wide promenade divides the lanes of traffic and sets the scene for a centralized pedestrian experience.

“...CITIES ACHIEVE MUCH MORE THAN ISOLATED HUMANS. CITIES ENABLE COLLABORATION, ESPECIALLY THE JOINT PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE THAT IS MANKIND’S MOST IMPORTANT CREATION...BECAUSE HUMANS LEARN SO MUCH FROM OTHER HUMANS, WE LEARN MORE WHEN THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE AROUND US. URBAN DENSITY CREATES A CONSTANT FLOW OF NEW INFORMATION THAT COMES FROM OBSERVING OTHERS’ SUCCESSES AND FAILURES...CITIES MAKE IT EASIER TO WATCH AND LISTEN AND LEARN. BECAUSE THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTIC OF HUMANITY IS OUR ABILITY TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER,

CITIES MAKE US MORE HUMAN.” EDWARD GLAESER

EDWARD GLAESER

BRANDENBURG

GATE

A VARIETY OF SPACES (FOR PEOPLE) + STREETS (FOR PEOPLE) = STRONG PUBLIC SPACE STRUCTURE STRONG PUBLIC SPACE STRUCTURE - CRITICAL TO SUCCESSFUL CITIES SUCCESSFUL CITIES - CRITICAL TO MANKIND


STREETS (FOR PEOPLE)

WORKS CITED Bacon, Edmund N. Design of Cities. New York: Viking, 1967. Print. “Bing Maps - Birds Eye Imagery.” Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.bing.com/maps>. “Earth.” Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.google.com/earth/index.html>.

BICYCLES

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

In a city where the number of bicycles in existence outnumbers the full time inhabitants, an obvious attention must be given to accommodating this mode of transportation. Amsterdam is structured by its extensive canal system, and coinciding with this larger framework is a bustling network of self propelled transportation machines. Here we see what happens when our focus moves away from the car and towards a healthier transportation network.

<http://www.globaldesignworkshop.com/20110426/urban-design-quotes/>. “Map of Venice”.<http://worldtouristmap.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Venicestreet-map.jpg> “Understanding Public Space through Scale Comparisons.” Ideas and Inspirations from Sasaki Associates. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <http://ideas.sasaki.com/idea/understandingpublic-space-through-scale-comparisons>.

TRENT MATTHIAS

VT CAUS 2012

CANAL NETWORK



Trent Matthias Europe Travel Portfolio (2012)