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Public Space | Architecture as a Library, Mirror, and Lighthouse Sarah Rutland An Undergraduate Honors Thesis Presented to the School of Architecture and the Honors Program at the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture with High or Highest Honors University of Florida 2016
Copyright (c) 2016 Sarah Rutland
Acknowledgement I thank my Thesis Faculty Advisor, Bradley Walters for his expert supervision and encouragement in the development of this work I thank my design 7 instructor, Nancy Clark, and Theory 2 professor, Charlie Hailey for their academic guidance, which significantly contributed to my current research. I thank my design 7 partner, Graham Nichols for his collaboration in our work, which was critical in the development of this thesis.
Table of Contents Abstract pg 1 Introduction | Public Space and its Impact pg 2 Architecture as a Library pg 3 Architecture as a Mirror pg 6 Architecture as a Lighthouse pg 11 Conclusion | Public Space as a Living Vessel pg 17 References Cited pg 18
1 Abstract Abstract of Undergraduate Honors Thesis Presented to the School of Architecture and the Honors Program at the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Design in Architecture with High or Highest Honors Public Space | Architecture as a Library, Mirror, and Lighthouse By Sarah Rutland April 2016 Thesis Advisor: Bra dley Walters Departmental Honors Coordinator: Mark McGlothlin Major: Architecture Architecture is three things: a library, a mirror, and a lighthouse. Thoughtful architecture reflect s our past, express es our collective identities, and guide s us to a fulfilling fut ure. One of the most important aspects of architecture is the way in which public space affects the community around it. Public space, more than any other architectural element, has the capacity to rapidly transform a community an d the quality of lif e in that community. Consequently it is critical that the connection between quality of public space and the culture it fosters is carefully considered in the development of that community s future. Public space serve s a continuously expanding library of memor ies for bot h an individual and a community; it creates the character and identity of a space and serves as a reference point directing future development Public space is at the core of our urban environments, and it must be carefully shaped in order to re present, and guide towards a positive future.
2 Introduction | Public Space and its Impact Architecture is a peculiar study because the work is public while being, simultaneously, intensely personal. Public space, one of the fundamental components of community, reflects this simultaneity between public and private through the capturing of private moments within a larger, public context. Public space creates a place for intimate gathering, for exchange, for communal experience within a complex network of fields. Figure 1 shows a rooftop garden proposal, intended to shape for precisely these forms of social interactions. 1 Furthermore, in all successful urban environments, space is returned to the public and adapted to reflect and embody the specific character and needs of a place. When these spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives and greatly influence our personal quality of life. But what makes a public space successful? Public space must be mo re than just a place deemed as so a place open to the public. Rather, to be successful, public space must act as a library, a mirror, and a lighthouse to its people, constantly gathering, reflecting, and guid ing, the values of a community a cross time. F igure 1: Image of public rooftop garden proposal in Harlem, NY intended to revitalize neighborhood, provide fresh food, and create space for public exchange. Image made in collaboration with Graham Nichols. 1 figure 1 Nichols, Graham. Rutland, Sarah. Design 7.
3 Architecture as a Library In many ways architecture, and consequentially public space, can capture and embody moments in time within a particular culture. Time is a critical component in architecture, and in the creation of public space. An architect must acknowledge immediate time, and a commu operate in this space? Does time move quickly? Does it slow down? All of these questions must be considered in order to create meaningful spaces for people. However, an architect must concurrently acknowledge and pay homage to the past, while also space to extend beyond its physical boundaries to become a reservoir of memory fo r a community. Car lo Scarpa, has a way of carefully addressing the idea of time in his creation of space. His work maintains a sensitivity in acknowledging, even memorializing, the existing historical context, while still allowing for change. His use of veiling, revealing, floating, and lightly joining materials creates a clear respect for historical foundations, while still celebrating chan ge Carlo changing palimpsest. It not only reflects the past, but acts a future reference, encouraging future expansion and re envisioning in a tactful manner. It acts a frame Figure 2: Castelvecchio in Verona by Carlo, Scarpa
4 to the context it engages w hile simultaneously serving as the art piece in of itself. In his redesign of Castelvecchio in Verona, his work is highly regarded in its ability to negotiate this merging of past and future: 2 His interventions create deliberate breaks between different historical parts of the building, each of which is designed to create an "authentic" historic experience. He rhythmically marks the different stages and layers that were added at different times in the history of Castelvecchio. It is in this way that he re veals the inherent discontinuity of time in his select ive narration of Verona's past. 3 suc cess. Frederick Law Olmsted co European picturesque and p astoral style and envisioned central park as a pastoral landscape within the strict Cartesian grid of the city, providing : l eisure space for the city's inhabitants, by creating a space whose American design departs from the rigid structure of th e city 2 Figure 2. Scarpa, Carlo. Castelvecchio in Verona. http://www.mimoa.eu/images/9092_l.jpg 3 Rab, Samia. Carlo University of Hawaii at Manoa. 86 th ACSA Annual Meeting and Technology Conference. Pg. 443.
5 New Yorkers a place to return to the feel of nature without having to travel far from the city. 4 Koolhaas defined Central P but also the record of its progress: a taxidermic preservation of nature that exhibits 5 What makes Central Park special are its small vignettes in time the carousel the bridge, the bench under the twisted tree within the greater park, and ev en greater city of New York which were critical to These small vignettes created for moments of intimacy capture a nd collect moments in time as the passage of time begins to create the character of the place. 6 However, and beauty of the park is not in its individual decorations, but in the holistic experience. It is one of the few territories within the city that creates frozen moments of both time and spatial itinerary in its continuously moving context, thus and while also observing and studying others in an ever changing cultural dialogue. Central particular time; rather, its organization facilitates our most basic, and time less need for repose and connection to others it allows one to remember that they are a piece to a larger, evolving whole. Like Central Park and Castelvecchio, space can serve as a continuously expanding library of memories for both an individual and a co mmunity serving as a cultural repository where individuals can collect to reflect upon themselves, 4 Walker, Noah: The English Picturesque and its American Interpretation: Olmsted's Central Park. 5 Koolhaas, R em. Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan New ed. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. 6 Figure 3: Central Park, NY. http://www.amnh.org/
6 through the intangible collection and manifestation of both individual and collective experience Architecture as a Mirror Public space is not the heart of a place rather, it is the skin. It is not internal, hidden behind facades and structures, but exposed for all to see, admire, and critic. Like our clothes, tattoos, accessories, make up, or masks public space creates the c haracter and identity of a space, like how we use external artifacts to construct and project our public selves. 7 Identit y is created through a collage: it is the expression of our needs, values, and desires built upon the foundation of our personal context s and core sense of self. Public space serves the didactic role of reflective our identities (cultural/collective/individual) 7 Figure 4: Rutland, Sarah. Mask Exercise, Architectural Theory 2. Figure 3: Central Park, NY
7 through anchoring us in a secure sense of place with a collective cultural value while mai ntaining a plasticity in its dia logue that adapts to each individual experience Ultimately pub l ic space serves our basic needs of repose and connection while tuning the physical embodiment of those needs to fit the context in which it lives. In identifying the significance of public sp authentic self. Public space is at the core of our urban environments, and it must be shaped in order to not only reflect our history, but also to drive our communities towards a positive and ethical future. One major way in which public space can help to c reate a positive identify for a community is though creating more meaningful urban public spaces. Pla ces where people particular community. 8 In the book, Convivial Urban Spaces Creating Effective Public Places thoughtful design for the future and argues that urban spaces are essential to the development of successful, sustainable cities of the future. He argues that without it 9 Ultimately, this privatization and polarization will begin to strip a city of its innate character, and result in a loss of identity as well as resourc es for the community. He writes: 8 Shaftoe, Henry Convivial Urban Spaces Creating Effective Public Places. London: Earthscan in Association with the International Institute for Environment and Development, 2008. 9 Iliab.
8 Such convivial spaces, cities, towns and villages would be mere accretions of buildings with no deliberate opportunities for casual encounters and positive interactions between friends or strangers. However, convivial public spaces are more than just arenas in which people can have a jolly good time; they are at the he art of democratic living (Carr et al 1992) and are one of the few remaining loci where we can encounter difference and learn to understand and tolerate other people (Worpole and Greenhalgh 1996). 10 Public Space, in many ways, is a reflection of our communal ideals and values. Public space must embrace its urban fabric and wear it proudly. The is no such thing as one perfect public space. It is not identified by its uniformity, its ser ies of individual marking, its significant public buildings, or its assemblage of commonplace components. It is all of these. T hroughout history, successful public spaces have grown organically through an accumulation of adaptations a nd additions. Conseque ntially, c ritics of formal architecture and planning such as Christopher Alexander and Bernard Rudofsky suggest that we are better 11 By growing and constructing our public spaces carefully, we allow them to embody the 10 Iliab. 11 Alexander, Christopher. The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press, 1 979. Figure 4: Mask exercise used to investigate architectur e and identity
9 cultures and experiences of a place in a way that also simultaneously is respectful of its inherent relationship to the earth. While approaching a project located in Venice, Italy I used this ideology of the ope n space o f Campo Santa Maria Nova in order to best reflect the identity of the place. 12 The analysis of this space be gan with mapping circulation patterns, thresholds, and sunlight in order to work the ground in a way that would retain the original movement through the public space, but create clearly defined spaces that allow for gathering, sitting, and resting within the public space. 13 I felt as though the way in which you move through a space was inherently a part rather, to bring more clarity and resulting energy to the space that serve s as a social 12 Figure 5. Rutland, Sarah. Design 8. 13 Figure 6. Rutland, Sarah. Design 8. Figure 5: Elevation of reimagined Campo di Santa Marina.
10 anchor to the surrounding neighborhood. The circular pockets of space within the campo introduce green space, provide protection from regular flooding, and allow for multiple viewpoints and orientations while occupy ing. The fluctuating, translucent roof structure allows for a protec tion from rain, a more even distribution of soft light, and a unified sense of space within the campo. This dialogue between ground and floor plane was chosen to create flexible public spaces ial organization while enliven ing the space without This project reflects the identity of a modern campo by serves its contemporar y needs while still maintaining its original structure and giving a framework to the already existing social infrastructure. One public project currently under construction that negotiates this dichotomy between earth and identity is the Dryline by Bjarke Ingles Group in New York. This project is a protective system around Manhattan, driven by the needs and concerns of its communities. In describing the develop ment of the project Ingles says: We asked ourselves: What if we could envision the resilience infrastructure for Figure 6: diagrams of development of Campo di Santa Marina
11 water, but rather a string of pearls of social and environmental amenities tailored to their spec ific neighborhoods, that also happens to shield their various communities from flooding. Social infrastructure understood as a big overall strategy r ooted in the local communities. 14 T is a project focused on tailoring public space in order to retaining the identity of a place while protecting it from the elements, and allowing it to continue develop ing safely This project is directly tied to the identity of the island of icular community it is serving. Rather than being defined by uniformity, this project becomes a part of the island s while serving the universal need of protection and sustain ability. Ultimately, social, public spaces are multifaceted in their abilities to serve as reflections while also equipping us with the parts necessary to needed to grow and sustain the identity, character, and integrity of a loved place. Architecture as a Lighthouse A lighthouse gives wandering sailors a beacon, a location in space, to allow them to measure our own locations and proximities to it and approach our destination safely. This guide not about moving out or forward; rather, is about but about serving as a reference point for return In our continuously changing societies, all urban spaces need a 14 Ingles Bjarke. Bjarke Ingels on the New York Dryline Interview. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/mar/09/bjarke ingels new york dryline park flood hurricane sandy.
12 consistent guide that will serve as a reference point to assist in direct ing their development into an unknown future. Public space serves as a lightho use in its solidarity, and provides a clear guide of light through its constant and honest engagement with the needs and values of the public. While buildings, programs, and people may change, public spaces maintain a consistency and longevity in space, w hile constantly adapting and changing in its hierarchy, biases, and interventions based on its surroundings. Public space anchors our communities our existence as members, shaping us and allowing multiple futures to unfold naturally. One of the most impor tant aspects of public space to analyze is the way in which it affects the community around it. Successful spaces inherently improv e s the quality of life in a place, and a s architects, we must reflect of this connection between quality of public space and quality of life in order to understand how to best make a place that crea tes a joyful experience of life and lead s a community to a more positive future. Juhani Pallasmaa emphasizes the importance of public space development in writing, during the design process, the architect gradually internalizes the landscape, the 15 Public space can act as a significant equalizer among people. It offers all people, no matter race, c lass, or rel igion, simple pleasures of life that we must retain as we progress. Ultimately it is this and ever changing development. 16 15 Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Chichester: Wiley Academy ;, 2005. 16 Figure 7. Nichols,Graham. Rutland, Sarah. Design 7
13 One of the most important aspects of a community, that must be kept in mind in its continuous development into the future is happiness. Public space offers the city a pulse to be checked by periodically to ensure that it is growing in a healthy way. Happin ess is a major component to a successful public space, and consequentially to a successful city, because it is the way by which a community can gauge the quality of life it is providing. People have relatively simple needs: they want to be happy. However, l inking the quality of public spaces and the quality of life is a complex and multifaceted area that suffers from a meager evidence base. The reason for this is because it is difficult to quantify the value of a quantity that is intangible and ineffable However, countries across the globe all offer historic examples of meaningful public spaces, suggesting that Figure 7: image of propo sed public venue in Essex Crossing NY. This proposal is intended to increase quality of life, increase cultural exchange and serve as a precedent in future, sustainable development of the area. Image made in collaboration with Graham Nichols
14 the need for convivial space is fundamental to human nature, whe ther or not it is quantifiable. 17 Finbar Brereton and colleagues at University Coll ege Dublin, have found that env ironmental and urban conditions are critical t Location specific factors are shown to have a direct impact on life satisfaction 18 Therefore well designed and well managed public spaces could significantly contribute to overall happiness. In her article, "Linking the Quality of Public Spaces to Quality of Life. Linking Helen Beck tries to gather a meta analysis of the way in which suc cess of a public space should be Bett er understanding [of public space] is needed to maximize the benefits of provision for individuals and the areas that they live in, especially because the poorest areas suffer from the p oorest quality of environments. 19 Analysis of public space sheds a lig ht on where a community needs redirection Spaces in which people feel safe happy and their needs are met directly correlate to the type of spaces that are b eing provided to that community; a s a consequen ce, we must design public infrastructure in a way that empowers and positively inf luences the 17 Beck, Helen "Linking the Quality of Public Spaces to Quality of Life." Journal of Place Mana gement and Development J of Place Man and Dev, 2009, 240 48. 18 Ibid. 19 Beck, Helen "Linking the Quality of Public Spaces to Quality of Life." Journal of Place Management and Development J of Place Man and Dev, 2009, 240 48.
15 community it serves. Figure 8 shows the analysis of food deserts on the island of Manhattan in contrast to the frequency of public gardens and available access to healthy food. As a result of this analysis, we strategically placed various modules of public food access adapted to each specific contextual environment, with the intention of alleviating these food deserts with specifically programed public space. 20 If a community struggles to show growth, it must be addressed with positive change. Public space helps to orchestrate this change by providing a stage for the new development of a community. A s Sheirly Ar : 20 Figure 8. Nichols, Graham. Ru tland, Sarah. Design 7. F igure 8 : Before and after analysis of Manhattan food deserts. Image made in collaboration with Graham Nichols
16 imposes certain restraints on our mobility, and, in turn, our perceptions of space are shaped by our own capaci ty to move about. So: behaviour and space are mutually dependent. 21 The kind of spaces provided to people inherently effects the type of relationships they will cultivate. Public space that equips a community with resources and basic needs that enable them to form a communal identity and increased quality of life. In her book, Designing for Diversity Kathryn H. Anthony attacks discrimination issues writing, Throughout the world, architects create places in which we live, work, from those where we are born to those where we die. Discrimination in [design] can lead to discrimination in how we use the built environment 22 The contexts that we create for ourselves in the public sphere inevitably affect our future; consequentially, we have the responsibilit y to design our environments in order to positively shape resulting cultures. Public spaces offer countless benefits to a community that are immeasurable. Public space has a way of enlivening a cit y both directly and indirectly, but also it gives a community a guide to follow in cultivating an increased quality of life. Through creating spaces for people to gather and collectively experience, the effect of this benefit to the community ripples out t o deeply impact the community. Ultimately, thoughtful public growth not only in its overall quality of life but in how we use the built environment. 21 Ardener, Shirley. The Partition of Space. 22 Anthony, Kathryn H. Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession
17 Conclusion | Public Space as a Living Vessel In conclusion, successful public space is the architectural component that has the most pervasive impac t on the character of our urban environments Public space is not something that we use passively, but we engage with it actively every day in our experience of a place It is inexplicably tied to our history, our present, and future, and it is the tool by which we measure the intersection between these merging moments in time. Public space distills and embodies our most important values and needs as a community, and offers to the people a space for opportunity. Ultimately, successful pub lic space embraces th e public as well as the private to reflect our past, express our collective identities, and guide us to a fulfilling future.
18 References Cited Alexander, Christopher. The Timeless Way of Building New York: Oxford University Press, 1979. Anthony, Kathryn H. Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession Urbana: U of Illinois, 2001. Print. Women and Space: Ground Rules and Social Maps 1993. Print. Beck, Helen. "Linking the Quality of Public Spaces to Quality of Life." Journal of Place Management and Development J of Pl ace Man and Dev, 2009, 240 48. Ingles, Bjarke. Bjarke Ingels on the New York Dryline. Interview. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/201 5/mar/09/bjarke ingels new york dryline park flood hurricane sandy Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan New ed. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Chichester: Wiley Academy ; 2005. Hawaii at Manoa. 86th ACSA Annual Meeting and Technology Conference. Pg. 443. Shaftoe, Henry. Convivial Urban Spaces Creating Effective Public Places. London: Earthscan in Association with the International Institute for Environment and Development, 2008. Walker, Noah: The English Picturesque and its American Interpretation: Olmst ed's Central Park. 2 Oct. 1996. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.