Public Works - Public Space

Nicola Macarthur- Stage one architecture

Final Blog Task

Architecture is all around us, we don’t realize it, but it’s there. It takes form of buildings, interiors, objects, art and space. As people we become part of the architecture through how we live within these public and private spaces, how we interact with those around us and how we adapt to what’s in the spaces surrounding us.

Public life is how we perceive and move within spaces of public and private. There is the idea that City=House and House=City, which is the idea that the activities we perform I different public spaces in the city, is the same as being at home in private spaces. The idea that these spaces in the city is the same as the the spaces at home. They are places everywhere we go and each serves a different purpose. For example the cinema is a public pace of leisure. Everyone can go to this space and enjoy their own experience in private.

We have become obsessed with the concept of utopia-city vector of the imagination. Personally this concept intruiges me hugely and im interested in the various creations of a utopian city of the future. The way I see it, is that through the many variations of our future city, is that public space plays a huge part with less of the private and domestic domain. This manifests with the fact that todays technology is consistently growing with less privacy and more openness. With social networks, modern day technology and computer systems, we are able to see and share with other people’s thoughts and spaces. Forever creating and producing new ideas/concepts. All these become interwoven with eachother, building a structure of a utopian future city.

The idea of separating people socially comes from hundreds of years ago. An example is  the term ‘Polis’ used in the Ancient Greek. The term meaning a self governed city. Even the citizens were separated, only those within the city walls were considered, but then the concept was developed and classes were created. i.e. slaves and foreigners were not allowed to be part of society. Nowadays we have better communications due to different types of public space.  For example using my experiences of schooling brings up the concept of public space having and impact on how we interact with others around us. Being in private school before I cam here, I was surrounded by almost all people of one class within the space called Queen’s Gate School, but when moving to Canterbury in university the public space became bigger and encouraged interactions with all kinds of people of various classes ad backgrounds. On the whole public spaces such as the London underground bring people from different places together in one space, even though we don’t stop and converse with one another our paths are intertwined, bringing us together without thought.

This also links with the idea of how we adapt and respond to things that happen between us through the spaces we are in. as I’ve said before technology also plays a huge part in the idea. For example our modern cities such as New York and Hong Kong with their bright lights and media centered spaces, impact us and influence our thoughts, actions and how we perceive our personal thoughts on spaces around us. The private spaces then become almost public. Again referring back to the utopian concept, architects can’t get enough of the idea of creating a space, building, or city that would be out of the ordinary, something we would all fantasies, but in actual fact non of these utopian ideas would ever work in the real world.  Instead of what architecture is meant to be, about creating suitable spaces for certain purposes, we build buildings that are of what we desire making us selfish. This also verges on the concept of Rem Koolhaas’ term ‘bigness’. We don’t care that the building does not make sense, but instead we build a skyscraper to be taller than the others as if in a competition to be better than the other skyscraper. This leads to our modern cities consistently growing bigger and what we see as better, creating larger public spaces that surround and heavily influence people about the idea of what we desire, rather than people per sieving these spaces interpretation and using the spaces in their own way.

As a conclusion I see it as spaces are all around us, with each serving a different purpose and influencing us to act, interact, play and move in certain ways, depending on the space we chose to be in. We have our ideas about an ideal world, society and city, but not all these ideas can work in our world today. Architecture is about creating a space for a purpose, but are we getting carried away with new ideas/creations and getting lost in the imagination of an ideal world or a world in which we would prefer to live in? 

#1 Utopia - City as vector of the imagination

For a long time artists, architects and creative types have tried to create and imagine what the world around us would be like in the far future. All of which consists of modern technology taken a step further, with robots, the concept of flying and the idea of everything being effortless, with public spaces becoming bigger and the use of artificial lights en-lighting the city mostly. 

This concept would not work in the real world of today as we live in a society where human nature is inbuilt into everything. For instance in a western society, utopia could never work due to political systems such as capitalism where there is a set hierarchy. Architects have become drawn to the idea of utopia, for example the buildings of today are becoming taller and taller, and todays architecture has become more about being bigger and better rather than how architecture used to be, which was creating spaces for certain purposes. 

We have become obsessed with the idea of utopia, as it shows in many films such as : Avatar- entering a virtual world that is depicted as a futuristic world. 

      Tron- the Utopian city, ‘Grid’

       Matrix- using the mind to control everything in another world, again taking the shape of a futuristic use of technology.

http://scriptporwin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/100-imaginative-cities-of-future.html

http://scriptporwin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/100-imaginative-cities-of-future.html

#9 Bigness OMA

The term ‘Bigness’ is defined by Rem Koolhaas, as it’s relation to architectural scale and the impact it has on cities. In his book S,M,L,XL there are presentations of his projects of ‘extra-large’ features at urban scale.The concept of the term ‘bigness’ is used to tell us that the building of our day seem to become taller and begins to forget about the of practical space, which then interlinks with the idea of ‘what ever happened to urbanisation.

#2 City = House, House = City

Like the city the house can be a smaller version with the same concept. The city is full of public spaces where one can converse with others and enjoy various activities. There is a sense of a large community of civilisation. Whereas in the house a similar pattern can be formed, where there are different spaces within the house where various activities can be performed just like in the city. There is also a sense of community but at a much smaller and closer scale. The concept of housing can be seen as a grid creating rationality within the city. 

#3. Polis - Greek space
The body of citizens came to the most important meaning in ancient Greece. A self governed and independent city, which emerged from the Dark Age. A polis consisted of once city that was surrounded by the country side, with people living in both the city and country, but the govern state was within the city and powered by the citizens.

#3. Polis - Greek space

The body of citizens came to the most important meaning in ancient Greece. A self governed and independent city, which emerged from the Dark Age. A polis consisted of once city that was surrounded by the country side, with people living in both the city and country, but the govern state was within the city and powered by the citizens.

Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is one of my favourite places, a space where I can be alone with my thoughts, or enjoy the company of friends in a relaxed environment. My spot is the top of the hill. From the there you have the view of London City below. Gives the sense of being far away from the hustle and bustle of the city but in fact its nature within the city. The park is open and seems never ending, with different paths leading to different public spaces of different activities. 
image- http://www.london-locks.co.uk/Locksmith%20in%20Primrose%20Hill.jpg

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is one of my favourite places, a space where I can be alone with my thoughts, or enjoy the company of friends in a relaxed environment. My spot is the top of the hill. From the there you have the view of London City below. Gives the sense of being far away from the hustle and bustle of the city but in fact its nature within the city. The park is open and seems never ending, with different paths leading to different public spaces of different activities. 

image- http://www.london-locks.co.uk/Locksmith%20in%20Primrose%20Hill.jpg

The Everyman Cinema - Maida Vale

During the easter break, going back home with an Everyman cinema just down the road, between friends, was just perfect. Because of its 1920’s inspired style with the red sofas and the velvet curtains I always feel as if I’m going back in time. As it is small it adds to the experience of being lost in the film. Like visiting any cinema leisure time turns into entering the character’s world, with the public space designed to make you comfortable, in order to forget where you are.

image - http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7162/6807814569_bdf1ab283e_z.jpg

         - http://www.maidavalemums.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMAG0890.jpg

St John’s Wood

The London underground is like a maze. Different tunnels leading to different platforms. it has become a huge factor in people’s lives who move around a lot in the city. We have become dependent on London transport, with the underground receiving thousands a day and not just people who live in the city. Without the system we would not have as many opportunities to move around freely when we need to. 

St John’s Wood

The London underground is like a maze. Different tunnels leading to different platforms. it has become a huge factor in people’s lives who move around a lot in the city. We have become dependent on London transport, with the underground receiving thousands a day and not just people who live in the city. Without the system we would not have as many opportunities to move around freely when we need to. 

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

As the reader we are led through a continuous driven plot, where Marco Polo an explorer through is imagination vividly describes the cities he has visited in a dialogue with another character, the Emperor Kublai Khan. The book consists of tales depicting 55 cities. The places in which Polo has visited show people acting, depicting and considering things of no sense or in fact impossible.When talking Polo and Kahn speak different languages. This therefore gives the idea that both characters understand what the other says through the use of their own imagination and leaves the reader to open interpretation. When describing each city Polo uses objects from the city he is talking about. The structure of the book is in the form of a framing device, the idea of a story within a story, with the concept that plays with the language and the complexity of the cities. On the whole the whole idea of the stories told and the way that they are told gives the reader, architects and artists to in-visit each city in a surreal manner, leaving it to the imagination where there are no limits visualising how cities could be. The way Calvino writes makes us consistently curious to the physical manner of public spaces and how they can relate with modern day society.

Project Utopia, Floating Island

The concept of a floating island goes back years. Although sounds relatively modern it was first mentioned in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’, as the home of the four winds of King Aeolus. It was then used in various literature and films. The most recent idea of the concept is the ‘Yacht island designs’. Designed to create a public space of what would be on land, but on water making it portable. Based on the idea of Utopia, who’s theme resembled more of an oil rig rather than a yacht. It’s space can be used for anything you wanted it to, such as mix retail districts, theatres, restaurants and casinos. 

http://inhabitat.com/project-utopia-a-floating-island-paradise-at-sea/proexr-file-descriptionattributeschannels-chlistcompression-compression-pizdatawindow-box2i-0-0-2999-1624displaywindow-box2i-0-0-2999-1624lineorder-lineorder-increasin/?extend=1

image - http://www.instash.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Project-Utopia-Floating-Island.jpg

        - http://images.gizmag.com/inline/project-utopia-bmt-yacht-island-design-12.jpg