The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Use, Comfort and Accessibility of Public Space

By thinking about where to put the money, given that it is scarce, and whom and how many people are going to get hold of it, is one of the questions public space has to face.

Hotly debated issue of the maintenance and management of the collective ensembles is in relation to the aspect of safety, but also privacy and comfort. Where these aspects are not properly attuned to one another, vandalism and crime are given a free hand.Therefore the intermediate space is a space or border area where individuals and groups are to flesh out their own relation to the larger whole. It is precisely these areas that intend to be sensitive to vandalism and neglect, intended originally for the emancipation and self-fulfillment of the modern individual.

"I believe the next challenge is public space as concerns of small and medium companies. I think the demand for design is no longer in the minimum operation of housing, but in questioning how to incorporate more resources without squandering them or spending them inappropriately." 
Luis Eduardo Bresciani, Head of the Chilean Urban Development division of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Inbetween mass-housing - open spaces of identity?

In spring 2010 Archis is publishing a book on mass housing by exploring the individual places and their social, political and cultural contexts: "There is something uncanny about traveling to places that continously evoke a common, everyday landscape. Art historian Mark Crimson describes traveling between two cities in the world as a 'means to return home as you inevitably pass through airport, ring roads and similar buildings'. The experience of travel today increasingly feels this way. Modern architecture is everywhere and mass housing, epitomizing the principles of modern architecture and urbanism, has truly become a global phenomenon. The prevailing sense of uniformity among global metropolises nowadays is due in part to continously encountering these large machines for living. Mass housing gained poor reputation in the latter half of the last century. A form of collective anxiety regarding the standardized, excessive character of such large scale structures stigmatized many of the projects. Yet mass produced buildings account for a vast production of the world's housing stock."

Over a billion people today live in the pre-fabricated housing and the number is expected to rise to 6 billion people by 2040. Cities are learning how to build faster, cheaper and higher. At the same time the social structure of these massive pre-fabricated environments shouldn't be left unnoticed. The quantity, quality and variety of areas to gather, meet and socialize - the open space inbetween the mass architecture  becomes the key element for potential habitants. Not only does the open space provide place for gathering and meeting or greenery, it should also be a safe by breaking the tensions of the class system.

I am keen to digg deeper into the book next spring and find future potential for open space in the context of mass architecture by studying from existing housing examples all over the world.
















Read more about Archis and its interventions...

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The more people around, the less people around

It has been discussed lately that human beings in nowadays society are not considered substance anymore, but a function. Human 'role' in life has become more important than his personality. How does it affect our perceptions of (public) space - space that we share with others? And the way we tend to think and name activities, spaces, people around us?

Man-is-not a tool by Paavo Piik

Man is not a tool.
He may not be.
He is not a tool for pleasure or intimacy
or respect or lightness or boredom
tool for making your work.


He is not for making money,
filling emptiness, teaching, viewing
for self-esteem and self-defence tool.
Because man is not a function.


He has no confessor or a prostitute
or a handhold or a domestic animal
or a wallet or a clown
or a workhorse or a babysitter,
non-critical role of a critic.
At least in it's own mind.


The more people around you,
the less they resemble the people
and the more they resemble functions.


Ergo,
The more people around you,
the less people around you.


source: free translation from Paavo Piik's poetry

Monday, 5 October 2009

Fixed Feature Life?

Fixed feature space is one of the basic ways of organizing the activities of individuals and groups. It includes material manifestations as well as the hidden, internalized designs that govern behaviour of man. One common example of fixed feature space is spatially organised inside of the western house. Not only there are rooms for special functions - food, entertainment, socializing - even the artifacts associated with the activities are related to that specific space. In some standards people who live in a mess are those who fail to classify activities and artifacts according to a uniform, consistent and predictable spatial plan. The internal layout however is quite recent.

Philippe Aries points out in a book Centuries of Childhood that rooms had no fixed functions in European houses until the eighteenth century. Members of the family had no privacy as we know it today nor there were spaces that were sacred or specialized for one function only: "...strangers came at will, while beds and tables were set up and taken down according to the moods and appetites of the occupants". In the 18th century the house altered its form, rooms started to be arranged likely to street and named after its function - bedroom, living room, dining room etc.

Some aspects of the fixed-feature space however are not visible until one observes human behaviour. It is important to note that fixed feature space nowadays acts like a mold into which great deal of behaviour is cast. As Churchill has noted: "We shape our buildings and they shape us".

It has been discussed lately that people do not think of their relationships with other people by kinship or emotions any more, but they have also started to name people by functions.


Futuro house by Matti Kuusia, 1968

Monday, 21 September 2009

Proxemics of Space

In 1957 a doctor named Humphrey Osmond began observing the effects of environmental change on the interactions of patients in a mental hospital in Saskatchewan. From that research he eventually identified two major systems for patterning space. Sociofugal space (gridlike) tends to keep people apart and suppress communication while sociopetal space (radial) does just the opposite. It brings people together and stimulates interaction as routes merge and overlap. Many other researchers followed in Osmond’s footsteps, developing a body of work known as “proxemics” to describe the cultural distinctions between intimate, personal, social and public space. The Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall is a classic reference on the spatial aspects of human interaction.



Friday, 18 September 2009

Democratic Design or Design Democracy

Another brand leaflet...Open for comments and discussions...




The Trunk Test for Web Users

People won't use your web site if they can't find their way around it. Whether you call it usability, ease-of-use, or just good design, companies staking their fortunes and their futures on their Web sites are starting to recognize that it's a bottom-line issue. In Don't Make Me Think, usability expert Steve Krug distills his years of experience and observation into clear, practical - and often amusing - common sense advice for the people in the trenches (the designers, programmers, writers, editors, and Webmasters), the people who tell them what to do (project managers, business planners, and marketing people), and even the people who sign the checks.

I find his method "The trunk test" rather useful and entertaining:
step 1 - choose a page anywhere in the site at random, and print it
step 2 - hold it at arm´s length or squint so you can't really study it
step 3 - As quickly as possible try to find: site ID, page name, sections/ subsections, navigation, search...

Although our designed youcanplan site already looked visually clear, it missed another important  web function - call to action and feedback. By making the site ID/ brand stronger, changing the strap line and adding calls to action, I hope visitors find the site more clear and user friendly.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Something is missing?

The telephone, television, video, home computers, and so forth have introduced new ways of interacting. Direct meetings in public spaces can now be replaced by indirect telecommunication. Active presence, participation, and experience can now be substituted with passive picture watching, seeing what others have experienced elsewhere. Or is that in the past already?

Abundant possibilities do exist for compensating for what has been lost. The demand for easily accessible social opportunities outside the home is growing, whether it is due to the change in family patterns, decreasing family size or great deal of free time, the spaces that are worth using, are being used. The public spaces are needed, even more now in the world of virtual communication. The city might not be a goal anymore, but a tool that will be formed by its use.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Necessary, Optional and Social?

An ordinary day on an ordinary street. Pedestrians pass on the sidewalks, children play near front doors, people sit on benches and steps, two passersby greet on the sidewalk, groups engage in conversation. This mix of outdoor activities is influenced by a number of conditions. Greatly simplified though, these activities in public spaces can be divided into three categories, each of which places very different demands on physical environment.
















Necessary activities include those that are more or less compulsory and in majority can be summed up as those related to walking. These activities are necessary, their incidence is influenced only slightly by the physical framework. These take place throughout the year, under nearly all circumstances.

Optional activities are participated if there is a wish to do so... if time and place make it possible. These take place only when conditions are optimal and place invites them. When outdoors are of high quality, activities take place with approximately the same sequence. However a wide range of optional activities will occur because place and situation invites people to stop, sit, eat, play etc.

Social activities depend on the presence of others in public spaces. The most widespread of social activities is a passive contact - simply seeing and hearing the other people.These activities can also be termed as a result of the above mentioned as they evolve from activities linked to each other. Social activities occur spontaneously as direct consequence of people moving about and being in the same space. The presence of others compromises one of the most important characters of public spaces - the subject of outdoor activities therefore does not begin with a single or limited category of activities - it is finely interwoven pattern.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Social Life of Urban Spaces

This witty and original film is about the open spaces of cities and why some of them work for people while others don't. Beginning at New York's Seagram Plaza, one of the most used open areas in the city, the film proceeds to analyze why this space is so popular and how other urban oases, both in New York and elsewhere, measure up. Based on direct observation of what people actually do, the film presents a remarkably engaging and informative tour of the urban landscape and looks at how it can be made more hospitable to those who live in it. The video was adapted from a book with the same name by William H. Whyte.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Meeting Place, Market Place and Connection Space = Public Space?

Looking back into the history of cities, public spaces have traditionally had three important functions in relation to the life of the cities. The public spaces functioned as meeting place, market place and connection /traffic space. People were talking, exchanging merchandise or moving about. All functions were vital, and in traditional cities these three functions occurred side by side in the same spaces in a fine balance. In recent years we have seen how this balance in many cities has been greatly upset by a number of factors especially the expansion of car traffic.

Taking a closer look at present day life in public spaces it becomes evident that most of the activities seen today have an optional character. In the old days ―as seen in the medieval times or in less developed economies― most people on the streets and squares are present because they are forced to use these spaces. They hardly have any choice. In the present day situation nearly all the activities seen in public spaces are free-of-choice activities.When people use the cities today it is not because they have to, but because they like to. The public spaces can offer something attractive and meaningful to the citizens ―if not they would not come.

“The Reconquered City” refers to cities, which during the past 3-4 decades have striven to achieve a better balance between traffic, market and meeting place issues. (Examples: Barcelona, Strasbourg, Lyon, Freiburg and Copenhagen in Europe, and from other continents cities such as Portland [USA], Curitiba [Brazil] & Melbourne). In many of these cities can be found an impressive increase in the volumes of people activities in the improved public spaces.

source: Jan Gehl on "Winning back the Public Spaces" in Conference lectured at the symposium “(In)visible Cities. Spaces of Hope, Spaces of Citizenship”, Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, 25-27 July 2003)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Public Space - too abstract label?

After some musings it has become clear to me that I am arguing about the use of "public space" as a word. Everything that is not private we label as public. In reality the space inbetween the buildings - the so called public space - is a mixture of interwoven socio-spatial processes in everyday use. Not only do I find the term "public space" too abstract, I also disagree with its ideology. In most cases the public space doesn´t belong to public and its use is regulated by higher authorities. So instead of calling it simply "public" we could define new words, segregate functions and meanings of these spaces. I have so far come up with 3 concepts - public space, open space and social space... If you have better words or examples in mind, or you agree/ disagree with me, post your opinion in the comments!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Space & Place - Action & Movement

I came across a concise and well-written book by Tim Creswell - Place: A Short Introduction - a text that introduces the fundamental concept of place, marrying everyday uses of the term with the complex theoretical debates. It traces the development of the concept of place from 1950s through its subsequent appropriation by cultural geography and the linking of the place to politics. Below I listed out some of the key thoughts that could become useful for developing my own perceptions of space and its use. If you know any inspirational sources, list them in the comment box!

* Tuan defines space as an open arena of action and movement while place is about stopping and resting and becoming involved. He argues that through human perception and experience we get to know the world through places. The term 'topophilia' was developed to refer to the 'affective bond between people and places' (Tuan in Topophilia, 1974).

* "To live is to live locally, and know is the first of all to know the place one is in" (Casey, 1996). 

* To say a place is socially constructed is to say that it is not natural and given that human forces made a place then human forces can equally importantly undo it. To say something is socially constructed is to say that it is within human power to change it - to change meaning and materiality (Creswell on Harvey).

* Thirdspace is lived space and it interrupts a distinction between perceived places and spatial practices. Thirdspace is practised and lived rather than simply being material (conceived) or mental (perceived).  In these terms places are never established but produced and producing. (Soja, 1999)

* "To be inside a place is to belong to it and identify with it, and the more profoundly inside you are the stronger is the identity of the place" (Relph on placelessness - where someone goes is less important than the act and style of going...) 

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Amusing Ways of Design



Mariscal's first presentation, in a new format that mixes diverse audiovisual technologies, relating to his work, to creativity, to design and even all about him and where he is heading. In a free, graphic, amusing way, he expresses himself in this atypical way which includes humour, colour, music and his scenic self-confidence, his own special way of understanding the world and design. www.designmuseum.org

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Define, Create & Communicate

Slider Studio´s previous fledgling site was developed in-house using Flash and ActionScript 2 about three years ago. It included a content management system, an interactive project filter and a little slider navigation feature to reinforce the brand. We have FINALLY retired this site, having outgrown its functionality and brand message. And have accordingly launched a new web 2.0 website with blog, RSS feeds, with clearer brand message.

I am currently working in SliderWeb that offers a wide variety of web development services to organisations across the creative industries and built environment. Our team specialises in defining, creating and communicating clear, compelling brand and marketing messages across interactive media. We work with our clients in the way that best meets their objectives within budget and timeframe, drawing upon fresh perspectives and hands-on practical experience.

Looking forward to your opinion: www.sliderstudio.co.uk

Temporarily Public?

In the beginning of this summer the Manifesto Club tested the limits of public space in London. They carried out few experiments with deckchairs and picnic basket in Trafalgar Square, Paternoster Square and "Scoop". More than once they were asked to leave as ... it´s health and safety... Park is just around the corner... GLA (Greater London Authority) owns this area or 50 CCTV cameras covering this area. Click to see the original post...

Just a short month later Trafalgar square has been turned into a 2000sqm green area where you can: "...Laze the days away this summer, take a seat on a specially designed deckchair and enjoy a special set of Magic Performances..." Trafalgar Square hosts 100 deckchairs - free to use from 10am-8pm.


Sunday, 16 August 2009

Supermall vs local high street

It is found out by the LDC (Local Data Company) that Britain has the worst rate of shop closures this year, with one in four shops closing down. Three times more shops are now closing across the country´s town centres than did last year, with 19 000 shops shutting so far in 2009. Most of these were independent stores. While shopkeepers admit that the recession has not helped, the overwhelming feeling is that the town´s problems cannot be blamed on the financial crisis only. The impact of the new-out-of-town shopping complex is the principal gripe.

A stroll down the local high street currently might be a devastating view - clusters of empty shop facades outnumber the surviving businesses, an array of charity shops and pound stores that has filled some of the vacated units. Faint lettering leave the reminder of shops moved out. However there are attempts to try to counter the high street´s appearance. To lessen the visual impact of rows of vacant stores, some of the local councils have installed artworks in some windows and painted the shop fronts bright colours. It seems a temporary solution though.

A city, a local high street should be a living organism that contains more than one function. I admire the enthusiasm of local council workers in Margate who have come up with the idea "... to prepare the high street for an age in which it is not solely a shopping centre, but one in which former stores might be used as university classrooms, community centres or art installations..." The end of the retail-dominated high street looms in the horizon, finally...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Inside/out - De Grote Hof

Rapp´s design for De Grote Hof is one of the housing ensemble examples that turns the traditional closed urban block inside-out. Five virtually square courtyards measuring 230x250m accommodate 246 homes. All of these homes face inwards, while the individual gardens are situated on the outside. The complex as a whole is framed by canal.

De Grote Hof has 5 courtyards. Four of them are square and roughly the same size, while the fifth is rectangular and much larger. The smaller courtyards have a completely different character then the rectangular one - something between a village green and an urban space. The difference in atmosphere derives not only from the difference in scale, but also from the transitional zone between the individual homes and the courtyard´s communal space. In the four small courtyards, this zone is marked out in the paving and partitioned off for each home with small fences. Residents can sit
in front of their homes and make contact with neighbours. The informal architecture appears to complement the casual contact between the residents. The rectangular courtyard makes a more formal statement.

De Grote Hof in Ypenburg, Architectenbureau Rapp+Rapp

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Public - Private Paradox in Housing

The paradox of the new open space in housing ensembles is its ambiguity: it attempts to be both public and private. For what and for whom are these little squares intended? Who actually uses them and in what ways? Newcomers who stroll around these layouts feel slightly confused: Is this a public park? A private garden for the residents of the villas? Or is it other way around, and are passers-by invited to look at the residents on their terraces? Sometimes such paradoxical experiences are what makes these spaces so fascinating. The old meanings of private life and public domain shift and lose their unequivocalness. The new open space brings urban life into traditional housing block through visual links with the city and by permitting entry to other users.

At times private and public seem to seamlessly flow into one another. Crucial elements in the organization and experience of the public and private domains are the boundaries and transitions: entrances to the dwellings, back sides of the buildings, gardens and the place for cars. The logic of the perimeter block however gets reversed: the inner side becomes its formal side and front side to the entrances.

An important
consequence in the reversal is that the "backs of the houses" are on the outer side and therefore eventually in a public area. The reversal of the block principle also means that the car cannot be parked right by the door and this in some opinions creates a feeling of belonging to the community. However the ambiguous status of the new open space is not a collective one: most of these kind of spaces created in the Netherlands for example are public property. These new ensembles can be seen as experiments. They are hybrids, the sense of public-private spaces is being sought anew.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

City of Domains

Traditional typology of urban design creates a strict division between private and public space - between the courtyard with private gardens and the street. The new open space according to DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) should open up the residential block. But the intervention is not aimed at creating room for a collective domain, but accommodating a new relationship between the public and private.

Parochial space according to American sociologist Lofland is a space that is indeed accessible to the public but clearly forms the territory of a particular group: those who walk in as strangers often feel themselves to be unwelcome guests. Public domain presumes on atmosphere of exchange and confrontation. The question then becomes: how open are these dominated domains, what relation do they have with other domains and to what extent can they be designed? Is the involvement of residents one of the main conditions for experiencing a space as public?


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Physical mementoes?

Here is a story of an artist Jasper Joffe...

"... last Christmas my girlfriend broke up with me. It was one of those times in life when you wake up 5am, wondering what are you going to do next; above anything else, you feel out of control... at almost exactly at the same time, I left the gallery where I´d been working as an artist for many years. It was going to be my 34th birthday two weeks later too, I suddenly realised that my entire personal and professional life was completely up in the air; it felt like I´ve reached an emotional Ground Zero...
I decided to gather together every single possession I owned - without exception - and place these all together in order to see how everything stood. I then planned to put on an exhibition of everything I had, inviting guests to come in, root around my belongings and buy whatever they wanted. Over the course of a few days, I enlisted a few friends who helped me work through my stuff - my clothes, my old toys, letters from friends at primary school and ex-girlfriends... Once we´d cleaned the place out, my flat was totally empty: no television, no kettle, no soap. The only things I had kept hold of were the clothes I am wearing now - a pair of trousers, a shirt, a jumper, some pants and a pair of flip flops - plus my wallet, house keys and passport. It was quite terrifying moment realising that this was all I had left to my name...
Finally I am free and unencumbered by my past. Now that the sale has just come to an end and I have nothing left, I´m going to head off travelling, somewhere I don´t need to think about things. From there, I will start to build my future, piece by piece. Any memories that I have, I hold in my head. I don´t need physical mementoes to remind me of me..."


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Public is Claiming Space - Play

Lately I was intrigued by Quentin Stevens article on "Why Berlin´s Holocaust Memorial is such a popular playground?". In the article he highlights the people´s need for proactive role in exploring landscapes and appropriating spaces to suit their varied desires. He argues that individuals´ needs and interests for remembrance (or self presentation?) are more varied and less understood and therefore harder to support or control through design.

Four basic forms that play takes - competition, simulation, chance and vertigo - emphasise different ways in which play provides escape from the seriousness, conventions and limits of everyday behaviour. The public realm presents spontaneous and dynamic configurations of place, events and people. Through various kinds of play, people develop themselves as individuals, and they test the limits of what public space can offer rather than merely receiving spaces as designers intend.

Peter Eisenman´s Memorial to the Murdered Jews, opened 2005 in Berlin, is 2 hectare field of 2711 concrete pillars. There has been a lot talk about the politics of its creation, but less talk about how visitors have appropriated the setting for many unanticipated activities. The Memorial lacks clear symbolism and obvious function and therefore invites free interpretation.


The MMJE´s scale and omni-directionality reduces formality: unlike many memorials, there is no focal axis or "front". Its pillars provide a multiplicity of audience seating and stages where people can meet their needs to see and be seen. Security staff only patrol the perimeter and act only to prevent dangerous uses, not uses which are merely undesirable. Eisenman intended this memorial to induce clautrophobia, disorientation, isolation, confinemet and unsteadiness. Without moral guidance such direct sensory arousal often instead stimulates play.

It is interesting to find out that not having been designed to suit particular functions or bodily gestures, this memorial´s abstract simplicity maximises usefulness. The expansive, complex field of pillars enables wide range of secondary, unplanned, yet-to-be-discovered uses. The MMJE illustrates ways public spaces can promote freedom and variety of public action beyond any definitions of function or meaning.

Design cannot necessarily enable or prevent play. Encouragement to free, playful behaviour can never be coersive. It is probably partly because playfulness was not among Eisenman´s intentions that people´s behaviour around this memorial is so creative and diverse. Designer´s role is to establish possibilities for meaning and use.

source:Quentin Stevens article on MMJE, 2009

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Before Public is Claiming Space - Self Presentation

Over the course of centuries we have seen a progressively stronger and subtler management of impulses and emotions within and between people. Spontaneous outbursts and behaviours such as spitting, drooling, vomiting, ranting and raging; pissing, shitting, sweating, screeching etc, have become increasingly embarrassing. This process started in courtly circles, followed by upper class and bourgeois, until finally by everyone else. Norbert Elias outlines that this process brought along an on-going privatisation of living quarters, a reduction of accessibility, not only physical but also reduction of visibility, audibility. From this fairly recent trend of privatisation people too quickly conclude that privacy is timeless and ubiquitous human need.

However people do not need seclusion as much as they need adequate self presentation. People are keen to present themselves at all times as competent, morally adequate. They expect others to accept them as they are, observe and respect their "space". In order to present oneself, they need to work on their self-presentation, away from prying eyes... before getting into costume and applying make-up for the next scene. As long as people can take care of their self-presentation without being seen, as long as nobody violates their "space", the public space can accommodate anything.

Successful public space is more than an area accessible to all: it is a space that includes, excludes, conceals and displays, raises and lowers at the same time. Some argue that this kind of environment cannot be designed, one can merely facilitate it - inviting to careful social explorations.

"To create such settings which are central, public and open is to recognise and invite diverse, new and unpredictable behavioural possibilities rather than serving narrow, predetermined instrumental activities. These gathering points imply and stimulate social interaction and ´transfunctional´ usage, transcending the orderly routines of everyday life. " (Henri Lefebvre in Writing on Cities, 1996)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Public Space in London?

For the recent Blueprint (August 2009) editors of the magazine teamed up with the Manifesto Club to test the limits of freedom in London. They carried out some experiments in public spaces such as Trafalgar Square, Paternoster Square and "Scoop" - area around Rodgers City Hall. Here are some quotes they were told in "public squares" after having picnic in deck chairs and playing football.

Area: Scoop
Guard: Sorry to interrupt your lovely picnic, but I have been asked by the management to move you along. You know it´s health and safety.
P: Health and Safety?
Guard: Yes, it´s a public walkway, and it gets busy down here with cyclists and skateboards who come past.
P: I thought you weren´t allowed to cycle here...
Guard: No, you´re not but kids come racing through on their bikes - we try to stop them but...

Guard: You can´t play football here guys. It´s all private property. This whole grey area is private property. It´s a stupid rule, if we don´t do it, though, then someone in the offices will call Boris Johnson and he´ll tell us to stop it.

Area: Trafalgar Square
Guard: I´m going to have to move you.
A: What are the rules?
Guard: I´m sorry but you will have to move. You know that St.James´s Park is just around the corner. GLA (Greater London Authority) owns this area.

Guard: Why are you having a picnic in a private space? What you like it here on the hard concrete? Is it a performance?

Area: Paternoster Square
Man passing by: You have found a great spot here. It´s getting like St Mark´s Square!

Guard: I am sorry I am going to have to stop you. There´s no throwing or kicking of anything here. If you hurt someone they´ll get sued. This is private property, not public, so you can´t do anything that might endanger public. There are 50CCTV cameras covering this area.


source: Blueprint article: How much public is public space?


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Public space? Social space? Open space...

The social sciences as well as architecture tend to speak of public and private in binary terms: it is either or. But in fact it is a question of constant shifts from public to private. Spaces therefore need to be designed as ´open spaces´ - to accommodate the shifts between public and private interactions. And designers should not describe them as one or the other, not restrict, but rather invite social explorations. The significance of the public space lies not in the degree of its expanse, its quantitative predominance or its symbolic role, but in connecting private, enclosed spaces, turning these spaces into collective memory.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Public and private continuum

In the beginning of the master course we were asked to create a newspaper article on any findings about Eindhoven - we called it The Eindhoven Zoo - or in my intepretation - to see and to be seen.

"Eindhoven at first gets your attention as being open and friendly city. Walking along the streets, I find it surprising how many people leave their curtains open in the dark. Almost as showing their way of living - open-minded, tolerant, welcoming... Almost as saying: you are always welcome to come inside... Their homes seem to be designed fashionably. But you hardly ever see someone really living there. I wonder whether they may have just gone to the other room, and left the light on... Empty spaces behind the glass windows look like a stages designed for show(off). I feel strange looking into someone´s home without letting them know. As if I was an intruder to forbidden areas - their private life..."

In our homes we create spaces that are meant for us and those for outsiders; but"public" is the place to see and to be seen. A place that is accessible to everybody, where nobody can be barred from, but nobody has special rights either. At least in theory...

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

ESP - new website

The website was required by the team to further explain and communicate the concept of ESP, capturing the interest from and informing the public, and to provide resources for regeneration professionals. We built a WordPress site which features blog, videos and downloadable resources. The blog from this website is also an RSS feed into Slider´s main website.
Launch the new website: www-esp-sim.org

ESP - leaflet print

ESP printed flyers, part of Slider´s growing leaflet package...

ESP - graphical toolkit

In parallel to YouCanPlan brand I have been working on toolkit for ESP - Enabled Self Procurement - trying to visualise processes in architecture and planning. These are examples of booklet in progress that hopefully is soon to be found at www.esp-sim.org





Tuesday, 16 June 2009

YouCanPlan brand - exhibition photos

Photos made in Harrogate in CIH Housing exhibition 2009.


YouCanPlan brand - stand assembly movies

It took our team of 7 people 6 hours to put pieces together and 1.5 hours to assemble the exhibition at first time. I used remote capture photography to record the process. It basically is a software that allows a computer to remotely fire a digital camera connected to it and images can be stored directly onto the computer's hard disk. There are several programs one can use for remote photography the only problem being your camera battery running out...

video

video

YouCanPlan brand - exhibition assembly

Important part of the design process was technology - we decided to use cnc-cutting. Although it is super precise, it puts more work on your shoulders. For this exhibition we ended up cutting 17 sheets of plywood and 7 sheets of MDF... altogether it is around 300 pieces that need to become one big puzzle. How easy it is to make a mistake... I am convinced that using cnc-cutting in that kind of size, one needs to do prototypes. We were lucky that there were only few pieces that needed resizing (with hand saw and sanding of course). The following are the examples of sheet layouts when they went into the cutting machine, and instructions for team to put pieces together.



YouCanPlan brand - exhibition

After setting the rules for YouCanPlan brand (mostly still in 2D) I tried to come up with concept that would become exhibition design - a 3D brand. These first images are from chosen design 3D model that we later on realised in SPRUCE plywood with CNC-cutting technology.


YouCanPlan brand - printed

Printed material for CIH Housing exhibition in Harrogate, UK

YouCanPlan brand

YouCanPlan is a creative development service from Slider Studio. It provides community consultation and engagement services and tools for the built environment.
It is important that every brand had a consistent personality that everybody understands and remembers. In spring 2009 we tried to re-think the YouCanPlan brand - to present a strong unified brand that builds up reputation and helps us achieve goals.
www.youcanplan.co.uk




Friday, 1 May 2009

PORTFOLIO 2009 - Ourspace@Selby

OURSPACE @ SELBY, UK
exploring the potential of the site, 2009
in collaboration with Slider Studio Ltd

PORTFOLIO 2009 - City Hall

TALLINN CITY HALL, EE
architectural competition 2009, entry
in collaboration with Slider Studio Ltd


PORTFOLIO 2009 - Culture academy

VILJANDI CULTURE ACADEMY, EE
architectural competition 2008: entry
in collaboration with Vincent Saulier, Vladimir Doray