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[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL INTERVENTION ] I N T R O D U C T I O N

“Man exists as a unit of society. Of himself, he is isolated, meaningless; Only as he collaborates with others, does he become worthwhile, for by sublimating himself in the group, he helps produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

POSSIBLE ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGIES/SOLUTIONS CREATING SPACES WHICH FOSTER SOCIAL INTERACTION

(William H. Whyte)

PROBLEM STATEMENT Architecture has been used as a means to illustrate isolation and separation within the built environment. From examples as far back as the posturing of colonial great houses over the slave quarters, to the dominance of post WW2 modernist architecture over the pre-industrial vernacular. This

Antonio Gaudi's Barcelona Parc Guell seating, 2011. (Photo: R Franceschini)

separation is mainly reinforced by the boundaries created, be they physical or economical. It is at these boundaries where cracks in the urban fabric are formed causing a decline in meaningful social

CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN PUBLIC SPACES

interaction and economic development across its borders. Jane Jacobs, the author of The Life and Death of Great American Cities, identifies borders within cities as destructive to neighborhoods and a place where “a kind of unbuilding or running down process is set in motion.” While the architectural

L I T E R A T U R E

Diagram showing the connectivity and flow of the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona spaces.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS Fear and Insecurity

1. Identification as a civic space, Is the building or space easily

social classes contributing to the decline in community connection, can

discernible from the surrounding context? Meaning does this space

be observed in many postindustrial cities. For the purposes of this

create an identity for itself, can it be used as a way finding element? 2. What are the scale and hierarchical relationships between the

study Isolation is defined as a psychological condition from a lack of

architectural intervention and the existing context?

connection, to remain alone or apart from others. While separation is

3. Are the interior spaces made legible from the exterior? The methods

defined as existing or happening in a different physical space.

Borders and Enclaves

• Fear and Insecurity • Community engagement • Social networking

• Safety • Territoriality

• Interaction between communities. • Architectural space as a social condenser

Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson, The social logic of space

Oscar Newman, Defensible space; crime prevention through urban design

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Modern Library, 1993). 339.

the way people relate to each other. The isolation and separation of

Isolation and Separation

William H. Whyte and Albert LaFarge, The Essential William H. Whyte

obligation to address social issues which fall within the realm of professional competence.

Fear and insecurity have been two of the constant factors in shaping

The Characteristics of Social Space

• Sociopetal and Sociofugal space • Legibility of private and public space • Factors influencing the arrangement of social space.

H e r m a n H e r t z b e r g e r, L e s s o n s f o r S t u d e n t s i n A r c h i t e c t u r e

profession cannot be expected to solve all of these problems, this does not absolve architects of a moral

SIGNIFICANCE

LITERATURE REVIEW BODIES OF KNOWLEDGE.

R E V I E W

Bryan Lawson, Bryan. The Language of Space.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Several similarities were identified among the theories of the reviewed literature, the foremost of which is importance of interaction between communities; the importance of creating venues which suitable offer a space viable as a social condenser; and the importance of addressing the lingering fear and insecurity shared by neighboring communities.

KEY ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS PRIVACY GRADIENT

COMMON SPACE

by which the interior spaces are made discernible from the exterior Much like fear in one form or another, may have been a factor of the apartheid movement. Is it then this same fear and insecurity that leads us to retreat from social life to the perceived safety behind walls and gates? According to the US Census Bureau report for 2009 there were approximately 10 million households or 9% of the national average behind walls or fences. With more being built every day.

Borders and Enclaves

of a building, adds to the overall openness and can be perceived as inviting or not. 4. How is the idea of territoriality and surveillance addressed? 5. Are there static zones? , i.e. places or spaces where people can stop and prevue the environment, sit, rest and commune before advancing. 6. What are the basic amenities that have been made available to the

“Degrees of Publicness Pattern ” (Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language, 1977).

SEAMS

public? Spaces created that allow people to use the bathroom, cook, eat, clean and rest offered. 7. What is the ratio of public, to semi-private, to private space? How much public space has been allocated for unplanned meetings of people by coincidence, in relation to the spaces where you may have to seek out or be invited into?

TROY WILLIAMS

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN

“Diagram showing seams formed at boundaries.” (Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language 1977).

“Diagram showing the pathways adjacent to a common space.” (Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language 1977).

THRESHOLDS


PRECEDENTS PROJECT

DESCRIPTION

Piazza Della Signoria Florence, Italy 13th Century

DISTINCTION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPACE

TERRITORIALITY

NATURAL SURVEILLANCE

ACCESSIBLE COMMON SPACE

FLEXIBLE SPACE

CONNECTIVITY

COMFORT

The physical characteristics of a space which allows the user to identify between that which is meant to be accessible by all, from that which is meant to be used by one person or a small group.

Is defined as the symbolic and physical characteristic of space in which the user has displayed proprietary interest in the public environment.

Is defined as, the capacity of the physical environment to provide opportunities for supervision.

Can be defined as, shared space made completely available to the public.

Is identified as, space containing elements that enable the users to participate in the organization and use of the space.

The means by which the intervention has formed a relationship with the surrounding built environment.

Defined by amenities provided which encourage people to occupy a space.

The main open space of the Piazza is inherently public, while thresholds to the adjoining spaces clearly define changes along the privacy gradient

Cafes and other commercial locals that share the plaza express their territorial claim through the use of potted planting and organized seating arrangements.

The openness of the piazza allows for clear visibility between the public and semi-public spaces. The entry pathways are pronounced at the corners of the piazza.

Access to the main public space of the Piazza via public circulation paths is unrestricted.

While the public spaces in the Piazza that have movable seating, the seats themselves are contained within defined boundaries. The Piazza itself serves as a public space for pageantry and ceremony.

The circulation pathways leading towards the Piazza Della Signoria are clearly defined and contained by the building edges.

Amenities provided include, numerous shaded areas to sit and rest within the Piazza. Additionally there are many places to eat and attractions to see.

Rank:

Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 1987-1995 Architect: Richard Meier & Partners, Architects; Associate Architect - F.J. Ramos i Associates Client: Consorci Museu d'Art Contemporani Total floor area: 13,800m2

Piazza Della Signoria serves as an exemplar public space. The clearly identifiable thresholds to adjacent spaces offering varying degrees of privacy facilitates meaningful social interaction. The availability of various amenities within the piazza improves the potential for occupant comfort, while visibility between public and semi-public spaces enhances safety. Total: 34

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

The raised platform to the entry of the museum creates a threshold dividing public from social space, allowing for both seating and active use of the space.

CONCLUSION

Local skateboarders have expressed their territoriality of the space as they can be seen using the plaza ramps and ledges throughout the day. Additionally the adjacent Café has demarked a formal seating space.

The museum’s transparent envelope successfully creates a visual link between the interior and the surrounding public spaces.

The public plaza is offered without restriction and is accessible via public streets.

Local cafes have made use of the plaza by providing outdoor dining areas with movable seating, which both helps to enliven the space throughout the day and offers flexibility in the organization of the space.

The circulation paths which lead to the museum are narrow and though clearly defined are also compressed by the block sized multistory buildings that flank on either side.

The provision of areas for sitting starts establishing some level of comfort, unfortunately most of this space is exposed to the elements with little shading available.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona Has achieved some moderate success in the creation of a flexible outdoor space through the use of the raised entry platform and ramp system. The clear definition of public space enclosure creates a static space for interaction while the visual transparency of the museum’s façade creates a connection with the outdoor spaces.

Total: 26

Red Location Museum of Struggle Port Elizabeth, South Africa 1998-2005 Noero Wolff Architects Client : The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality

Both the change in level and the overhead canopy element signals the entrance of the museum while creating a strong physical threshold. At this point a transition is made from open active public space.

The promenade has become a major activity node within the community; the residents have essentially claimed the space as their own, their museum, and a representation of their struggle.

Despite the lack of transparency in the façade, the scale and setback of the museum from the surrounding houses allows the neighborhood to keep a keen eye on their museum.

Unrestricted access to the main public space is made available via public circulation paths.

Though beneath the canopy allows for a variety of functions to take place, there is a clear lack of flexible seating provided.

The circulation paths leading to the museum, is currently comprised of a mixture of asphalt and dirt roads. The small bungalow houses in the area with their uniform setbacks help to visually define the circulation paths.

Some shaded seating is provided, although the harsh exterior surfaces may reduce the level of comfort achievable.

The Red Location Museum Again the ability to identify public vs. semipublic spaces was apparent While the intervention fell short in the categories of flexible space and connectivity.

Total: 24

CONCLUSION

Each case shared the following characteristics 1.Identifiable public and private spaces. 2.Spaces which exhibited evidence of being used. 3.Spaces that have been designed to allow the gathering of multiple users. 4.Spaces that facilitate interaction between users.

TROY WILLIAMS

The arrangement of public spaces into degrees of intimacy through for example the use of physical thresholds and the nature of enclosure. Will reduce the risk of awkward encounters and adds to the user’s sense of comfort.

Mean: 4.3

Create common areas tangent to the circulation path, giving users the chance to stop and interact with each other or the environment without forcing them to do so.

Mean: 4.2

[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL

Visual transparency between public and semi public spaces should be enabled to allow for additional user safety.

Mean: 4.2

INTERVENTION]

Provide unrestricted access to public spaces to ensure use of the space throughout the day.

Mean: 4.3

The placement movable chairs in a public space, adds to the flexibility of a space by allowing users to rearrange seating as the groups changes in size.

Mean: 3.5

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

The quality of the interstitial space between buildings is just as important as the spaces inside the buildings themselves. As this space becomes a part of the journey towards the intended architectural intervention.

Mean: 3.6

Public spaces are perceived to be more comfortable when there is some form of enclosure, whether it is physical or visual.

Mean: 3.8

Works Cited Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. A Pattern Language : Towns, Buildings, Construction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. Altman, Irwin, and Ervin H. Zube. Public Places and Spaces. Human Behavior and Environment. New York: Plenum Press, 1989. Berlin, Ira. Generations of Captivity : A History of African-American Slaves. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003. Centre, Barcelona Field Studies. "El Raval.“ http://geographyfieldwork.com/ElRaval.htm. Ellin, Nan, and Edward James Blakely. Architecture of Fear. 1st ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997. Hillier, Bill, and Julienne Hanson. The Social Logic of Space. Cambridge Cambridgeshire ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Hertzberger, Herman. Lessons for Students in Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2005. Lawson, Bryan. The Language of Space. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2001.

THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN


SITE ANALYSIS L O C A T I O N

A P P L I C A T I O N

& C O N T E X T

“As citizens divide themselves into homogenous, independent cells, their place in the greater polity and society becomes attenuated, increasing resistance to efforts to solve regional, let alone municipal, p r o b l e m s .” H e r m a n H e r t z b e r g e r, L e s s o n s f o r S t u d e n t s i n Architecture (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2005). 206.

The selected are of study is divided into a northern and southern portion by the existing train tracks The study area encompasses both the Florida State University and the Tallahassee Civic and Central Business District to the north of the train tracks, in addition to the Florida A&M University and surrounding communities to the South of the train tracks.

BUILDING TYPE ANALYSIS

The building design component is envisioned as a mixed use development, comprised of active retail spaces, educational facilities and affordable dwellings. All of which will be set in a neighborhood friendly, pedestrian oriented and socially inclusive environment.

The selected site is comprised of several parcels which are located at the intersection of Wanish Way. and FAMU Way, Tallahassee Florida.

APPLICATION PROCESS PROPOSED PRODUCTS The overall goal of the design intervention is to establish a social hub that creates a seam bringing the northern and southern sections of Tallahassee together. A vestige of the Industrial Revolution once used to connect cities, train tracks now serve to divide districts within cities. Quite often more than not one side is more economically prosperous than the “other”.

TROY WILLIAMS

[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL

INTERVENTION]

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

In the exposition of the design intervention several mediums will be used which may include, conceptual art pieces, site and context master plan drawings, building floor plans, building elevations, building perspectives.

THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN


[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL INTERVENTION ] S I T E

CONNECTIONS

D E S I G N

I

PARTI

PLANS

The resulting public spaces are defined by connections to the context and additionally the relationship between each other along the PRIVACY GRADIENT. Following the authoritative taxonomy on human space and distance developed by Edward T. Hall , namely ‘INTIMATE’, ‘PERSONAL’, ‘SOCIAL’ and ‘PUBLIC’ distances

INTIMATE

Mending the disconnected northern and southern sections of Tallahassee across the train tracks may be facilitated through the creation of an ACTIVITY NODE.

LOCATION

The site is located at the intersection of Wanish Way and FAMU Way. With an immediate adjacency to the Railroad Square Art Park which is home to numerous studios, galleries and small business. Additionally the site is further framed into context by the historical train stations one of which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

I N T E R V E N T I O N

PERSONAL

SOCIAL

SITE PLAN PUBLIC

In it’s current state Wanish Way is dominated by vehicular traffic which discourages pedestrian

KEY

activity in the area. As such the paving treatment and landscaping of main public plaza is made continuous through the thoroughfare as a traffic calming element. By doing so the street is now made more pedestrian friendly improving the accessibility and by extension SAFETY of the surrounding area.

DESIGN INTENT

The overall goal of the design intervention is to establish a SOCIAL HUB that creates a SEAM, STITCHING the northern and southern sections of Tallahassee together. While in addition to which seeks to strengthen the relationship between the existing surrounding context.

TROY WILLIAMS

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

FIRST FLOOR PLAN THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN

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FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL UNIVERSITY: SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE


[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL INTERVENTION ] P U B L I C

ART PARK EXTENSION

II

PLAZA ENTRY S O C I A L

1

2

A formal pedestrian entry to Railroad Square art park is created and forms a connection to the public plaza. This entry serves as a focal point to the western edge of the plaza and creates a meaningful visual and physical connection to the Railroad Square art park.

3

4

Within this portion of the public plaza the functions of the Art Park

The public plaza extends across Wanish Way to the east into the more

The public plaza is designed to stay active throughout the day by

have been expanded upon, giving rise to a dedicated gallery space as

active mixed use portion of the development. With commercial space

supporting a wide variety of activities including shopping, dining,

well as several artist live work units.

on the first two floors and residential two story lofts above.

leisure, play and the meeting of others.

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4 3

7

8

5

TRANSVERSE SECTION

SOCIAL COMMUNITY CIRCLE

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6

PERSONAL RESIDENTIAL

7

SOUTH ELEVATION TROY WILLIAMS

9

5

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

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9

&

P E R S O N A L

10

6

THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN

FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL UNIVERSITY: SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE


[REINFORCING SOCIAL INTERACTION THROUGH ARCHITECTURAL INTERVENTION ] E N V I R O N M E N T A L D E V I C E S

III

THRESHOLDS The arrangement of these AMENITIES allow for the INTERACTION between lovers, friends and new acquaintances alike. According to Bryan Lawson author of The Language of Space, “As a means of facilitating user comfort in public spaces, the privacy gradient should be made easily discernible.” One way of doing so is through the use of physical or visual thresholds, another

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2

7

as explained by Christopher Alexander is to “address the spatial qualities of the connecting

5

paths themselves.” As such the transition from the public plaza to the communal courtyard is heralded by the overhead walkway and connected by a circulation path that changes from the

4 1

6

TRANSVERSE SECTION 1

predominant axis of the plaza and becomes narrower as it enters the communal courtyard.

2

3

4

LONGITUDINAL SECTION

5

TROY WILLIAMS

The Residential Courtyard offers a relief

The creation of communal

CONCLUSION

space between the housing units and

spaces placed adjacent to the

In closing the Architectural Intervention

serves as a point of CONTACT between

circulation path creates a

seeks to achieve a sense of UNITY

residents. A clubhouse with

static space of rest, to

between both sides of Tallahassee, by

administrative offices opens up to the

socialize or to simply preview

promoting social interaction between it’s

courtyard and the public access to the

the environment before

users. By employing what Irwin Altman

south increasing onsite surveillance. Here

moving on. Additionally the

referrers to as “a space promoting public

it is possible to live among students,

users are given the choice of

life, involving a diversity of people and

working professionals and

pausing to INTERACT with

thus engendering a tolerance of diverse

multigenerational families in a safe

other people without feeling

interests, behaviors” and by extension

affordable environment.

THESIS CHAIR: ARLEEN PABON

6

THESIS COMMITTEE: EDUARDO ROBLES AND ANDREW CHIN

forced to do so.

7

people.

FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL UNIVERSITY: SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE


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