Poestry_Dynamic Conflict

5 Dec

Architecture is often most successful when it discovers its origins within a site, a form of connection between the building and its context to prevent a tense isolation of the architecture. A building determined by a set of rules established from the situational conditions is inherently more integrated with the site and its conditions. It can be generated from a series of different forms of structure: geometric structures, territorial structures, conceptual structures, and physical structures. This permits an intrinsic background and rationale to the architecture and provides a more recognizable result, even if the structure is not immediately evident in the final design.

Geometric structures are perhaps most innate within the conditions of a site; they are extrapolations of surrounding circumstances, lines, masses, and voids that begin to establish new geometries that can be arrayed throughout the site and develop a new language of geometries for the building. Directly related to this structural form is that of territorial structures; these are more urban and macro-oriented than geometric, but still are related to the site. It maintains that all cities have their own structure, and there are certain pre-established conditions that influence the remainder of urban fabric. Most often, rivers and hills begin to establish the eventual planning and development of a city; evident very saliently in Rome, the current city planning is a direct correlation of obeying the geographical situations of the river and seven hills. Within the site itself, however, micro-structures are propagated as a result of these broader structures.

Conceptual structure, in the words of Paul Klee, is “not visible by the eye, the essence beyond the appearance of things. The structure is a tool for organizing that determines the rules between the components of the system.” The conceptual structure derives itself from the program, site, and geography of the project, and becomes manifest within the eventual design. It extracts from the urban fabric or situational conditions, to establish another level of background. The rationale produced by this structure, however, can be broken; Poestry, which is a creative output based on dynamism and transformation, brings irrationality and establishes a conflict between order and chaos, a design juxtaposition that establishes inherent tension. The conceptual structure begins to define the interrelationship between the individual components, but also can be broken to prevent excess rigidity. Structural rigidity can also be manifest in the actual physical structure itself. This, in conjunction with concept, can orient and determine the interrelationship of the individual elements. These forms of background and structure are all evident within the architectural works of Labics, a Rome-based firm that emphasizes the establishment of proper building origins of design based on structure.

The project for Italpromo + Libardi Headquarters involved the complete transformation of an existing school building from the 1950s into a new headquarters for the company. When an architect renovates a building, they are essentially rewriting it, and therefore must know what they are writing on; the importance of the existing structure – the physical and geometric- within a renovation are immediately evident since they are the existing envelope that acts as the perimeters of the design. Therefore, much of the background is already established, and can be reinterpreted to develop the conceptual structure, which is what ultimately drove the final design in conjunction with the physical and geometric conditions. Labics designed a new volume to be inserted into the previous space, through which the previous structure penetrates. The volume is where the meeting spaces and offices were to be activated, and were almost suspended within the building to subdivide the section into four distinct elements: the circulation, the void, and meetings rooms, and open space. The new design, in accordance with the notion of poestry, had new additions to the physical structure that created a geometric friction, since they were neither parallel nor perpendicular, but rather at an extreme angle. On a larger scale of situational influence, the multifunctional building for the GD company responds to the broader urban context rather than just the confines of the building interior of a renovation.



Multifunctional buildings present an immediate issue to the designer: there are so many components that must be integrated that often do not relate. This was certainly the case for the building commissioned by the GD company, in which they expected a kindergarten, museum, canteen, gym, auditorium, and training center to coexist on one site. This was accomplished by implementing several structures: conceptual, geometric, and territorial. The location of the site along the river informed the design, since a relationship was to be established between the building and the river. It was to extend a path from the river and create a public continuity up through the entirety of the building, terminating in the auditorium. This was decided such that there could be an interface between the building and the public, since the intention of the multi-use construction was to invite the public to partake and extend the publicly accessible space throughout the building. Another project that had to respond to similar issues and combine a myriad of elements onto one site was the Fontana Square in Quinto de Stampi.





The site for the Fontana Square was a wide, abandoned space located in a typical urban periphery. It had to be a space that was flexible enough to satisfy the complex and multifaceted needs of the population, but also be defined enough to be readable as a destination. The particulars of what would activate the site were determined from a participatory process involving the city and people, in which they voiced the needs and desires for a fountain, greenspace, covered space, playground, benches, parking lot, monument, lighting, and many more. A geometric structure was therefore determined, which would then dictate certain activities and needs within each division of the pattern. The pattern was very angular and dynamic, and the triangles created based on the striations of the pattern would each be designed with a different material, intention, and occupation. On a much larger scale, however, the urban structures are investigated within the restoration and redevelopment of the old historic center of Wuhu in China.



In order to create a macro-plan for a section of an entire city, much larger scopes of investigation are necessary. When designing for the destroyed historic center of Wuhu, the previous condition of the historic center before its destruction became the determining background of the new design. It was intended to allude back to the sense of the previous historic center, but in a more modern way. The footprints of the major structures that once stood within the perimeters of the center would be rebuilt: the city hall, city temple, Confucius’s Temple, and Buddha’s Temple, which further began to dictate the new design. Also, from the previous center, the major axes and lines of movement, both pedestrian and vehicular, were replicated, all in an attempt to develop deeper ties to the history and memory of the site.

In music, a rhythm is required to compose a song, while in architecture, a structure is required to compose a building. There is no sense to a building when there is not a sense of structure or background to organize and establish conditions for the design. Labics has designed all projects with a thorough emphasis on the notion of having a strong structure and set of rules to be manifest in the design. They can be established through physical structure, conceptual structure, geometric structure, or territorial structure, and all permit a sophisticated rationale to emerge within the design process on which to establish a design that is seemingly organic within its context.


MAXXI – Museum as Urban Connection

19 Nov

Although digital production now defines the architectural output of Zaha Hadid’s firm, 2D forms of representation are always the inception of her ideas. In 1988, due to her innovative, radical 2D paintings, she was invited to participate in the Deconstructivist Architecture Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, where she, along with several other inventive artists and architects, presented ground-breaking works. The Deconstructivist exhibit was so successful that it progressed to a complete movement, which was defined as an “architectural style influenced by deconstruction that encourages radical freedom of form and the open manifestation of complexity in a building rather than strict attention to functional concerns or conventional design elements.” It was considered a movement rooted paradoxically in the concept of “instability,” and progressed to define some of Zaha’s future design decisions.

Zaha Hadid is known equally as an artistic master as well as an architectural master, dedicated to blurring the distinction between the two disciplines. When the competition for the MAXXI emerged (Museum of the Twenty-First Century), her initial approach took the form of 2D paintings that harkened back to her early days of Deconstructivist art.

Grand Buildings_1985

Between the end of the 1900s and the turn of the 21st century, the architectural realm of Rome was being heavily altered. There were many new buildings being constructed that were pioneering a new era of modernity within a tremendously ancient city: Renzo Piano’s Parco Della Musica, Richard Meier’s Museum of the Ara Pacis and Dives in Misericordia, and Fuksas’ Nuvola. When the competition for the design of the MAXXI was released, the modern face of Rome was emerging and creating a new realm of possibilities for the advancement of Roman architecture.

Initial Sketch_Energy Lines

Using the generative lines of the city, Zaha created a very elemental sketch that has become the famous concept of her wildly successful building- the energy lines. The energy lines were extruded from the morphology of the urban fabric, and a direct result of the surrounding context. The site itself sits near the origin of two axes that connect Piazza Del Popollo and Ponte Sisto in one direction, and the stadium and Via Guido Renio in the other. Therefore, the MAXXI was conceived of as a gravitational hub of the surrounding urban frame, and the form determined by the urban fabric and urban permeability. The energy lines were almost exactly extruded to generate the eventual mass of the building, creating major and minor streams across the site. The major streams were the galleries, and the minor streams were the connections and bridges that provided the more functional components of circulation. These streams are the walls that flow, converge, and dissect, thus generating a pattern of interior and exterior spaces. The site itself was a complex L-shape that meandered between existing buildings, which was used to the design’s advantage; “…taking it as an opportunity to explore the possibilities of linear structure by bundling, twisting, and building mass in some areas and reducing it in others- creating an urban cultural center where a dense texture of interior and exterior spaces have been intertwined and superimposed over one another.”

MAXXI Location_Generative Site

The form, which generated a plethora of rich spaces throughout the continuous tubes that wind around the site, entirely defies any notion of typology or any notion of what a museum should represent. Zaha believed that a museum should be “art containing art,” rather than a “quiet” museum that recedes behind the presence of the art. While the design received immediate praise and won the competition, the challenge emerged of the actual construction of such a complex form.

MAXXI Form_Art Containing Art

The MAXXI was constructed as a bearing wall system in auto-compacting concrete to allow the linear volumes to fly through the air with the same energy and movement as in the initial design concept. Highly extensive formwork was constructed, which consisted of Swedish plywood panels and coated in Italian linen oils to provide the smoothest concrete possible. To allow natural light to penetrate the structure, as well as to enforce the notion of the energy lines, glazed roofing with GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) support beams were installed. There exists a unique juxtaposition of a very basic pallet versus the complex form, which allows people to project ideas and individual experiences on the interior; as Zaha said in one interview on this design dichotomy, “I want people who occupy my spaces to interpret my spaces.”

MAXXI Ligthing_Natural Light

Developing an Urban Ecosystem

12 Nov

As society and culture undergo changes, both artificially and organically, the paradigmatic philosophy behind processes of mental conception morph as well. In the case of architecture, the design methodology transmutes to accommodate for the emergence of new necessities, materials, technologies, and changes within the societal environment. Currently, architecture is responding to the latest- and perhaps the most influential- shift in world events in recent decades: the climate change.

The climate change presents the world with a crisis, but to the design world, there is an opportunity. The architectural potential in the response to the climate crisis is manifold- there is a refinement of technology, innovation, materiality, and building formation. Since technology advances every day, there is a perpetual flow of new methods that can be applied to design for both visual and functional purposes.

Since technique and technology have concomitantly advanced, there is the potential to go deep into nature to extrapolate and investigate the DNA of life. This therefore establishes a bond between the organic and artificial, extending man through technology. Yet there are several issues concerning the status of technology and its advancement, in regards to both technique itself, and its external applications.

The situation of “technique” has been overturned with respect to the past, whereby it is no longer man dominating nature through technique, but rather technique is using man to grow and become more powerful. This extensive technological intervention permits a new kind of collective memory dominated by the potential interrelationship between the nature and artificial; it is therefore not limited to the relationship between man and technology, but the broader application on a macro-scale to the natural existence of the Earth.

Technology can be used to monitor the Earth and all its systems within, and it has been decidedly determined that the Earth is ill. There is a disparately imbalanced distribution of the world’s resources, supplying excess resources and energy consumption to the wealthy while disregarding the poor. The actual distribution of the density of people is also inequitable, as in the case of Bombay, where 90% of its population live on only 10% of the land, developing relentless slums with abhorrent conditions. These sorts of issues require an architectural response; solutions can be designed to restore a proper connection between the natural and artificial landscapes of the world. Yet the issues are particularly salient within cities.

Urban Decay_Year :: Population

For the first time on Earth, the urban population will outnumber the rural; over 50% of the human population lives in cities, which account for 75% of global energy consumption and 80% of greenhouse emissions. The ecological footprint maintains a highly unsustainable model; an excess of waste is artificially produced, which must be limited since nature does not inherently produce its own waste. There must therefore be a physical reconnection of these separate elements; something has to be between the natural and artificial ecosystems.

To demonstrate how architecture can temper the disparate ecosystems of the natural and artificial, the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale focused on the topic of sustainable design. They attempted to establish a “green economy,” where there was a more radical shift from real industrial production to a new kind of societal condition that pays more attention to landscape and nature. They addressed four major points that can begin to establish the bridge between organic and artificial: abating land consumption, reusing abandoned urban voids, uniting economy and landscape, and using the virtual network to address natural issues. Yet the most comprehensive sustainable aspect of the pavilion was the design of the pavilion itself; it used solar heat, manual movement, and water to power cooling systems within the exhibition, creating a net zero energy comfort prototype.

Italian Pavilion_Manual Function

The trajectory of man’s technological interventions within nature has resulted in both a climate crisis and urbanistic crisis of irrevocable proportions. Therefore, the architecture community has been responding through a new system of technological advancement and design, applying sustainable methods to achieve more eco-friendly results. Yet the problem cannot be solved by focusing just on the scale of the building, but rather the scale of the city. The whole urban ecosystem has become so disconnected with the natural ecosystem, and therefore must be reunited again.

Italia_Biennale Pavilion


5 Nov

Contextual sensitivity has emerged as a primary method within the design process, in regards to massing, integration, and most saliently- to sustainability. A more eco-friendly intention has surfaced, and has become a deciding factor of many designs. It becomes less about the building in isolation, but rather more about the building in relation to both the immediate micro-landscape as well as the distant macro-landscape. This method therefore addresses all scales: from a single material within a building, to the overall urban context of an entire neighborhood, city, or even country. A green economy, green design, and green experience is rapidly becoming the archetype of contemporary cities.

Pino Scaglione’s book, Cities in Nature, seeks to encourage a new method of thinking about the relationship between urban and natural systems, analyzing the potential interactions between public spaces, natural environments, infrastructure, and architecture. He defines an essential word in the study of eco-urbanism: metrolandscape, which is defined as design in relation to urban infrastructure. This term becomes the embodiment of his theory, in which the relationship between design and urban infrastructure, and its interrogation of the territory, are the means through which successful design is holistically integrated on an urban scale.

Metrolandscape_Urban Connections

To begin to comprehend the interaction between design and territory, ecological output diagrams and extensive analyses are presented. These indicate the quality of life, consumer output, pollution, and infrastructural metropolis that exists within and between major cities. From the inception of research and analysis begets experimentation.

Italy_Ecological Output

Many architecture firms have been expanding upon each other’s research to develop both fictitious and actual projects that manifest the current condition of eco-urbanism. Among these is the Bolzano Contemporary city by Metrogramma Studio. Within this design process, they have enacted several important meta-planning studies on topics related to the scarcity of space in the Valley of Bolzano and its possible expansion scenarios. They have investigated, and thus designed, potential urban development within the realms of both urban density and ecological impact within the Valley. Another influential cite-scale renovation occurred under the direction of Stefano Boeri Architects, who established a new masterplan for the city of Rovereto.

Rovereto experienced significant urban mutation over a period of decades, yet did not undergo significant urban development to counteract such drastic changes. These transformations included increased tourism, university influence, and new urban infrastructure. The intent of the masterplan was to determine some strategic areas to improve in connection with the new conditions within the city. It sought to unify the disparate expansions of different urban components, and create a greater union as a city. On a smaller urban scale, architects have established building designs that meet the criteria of the metrolandscape intention.

Rovereto_Urban Masterplan

Casa Holler sits in an austere but natural landscape, atop a wooded slope with panoramic views of the Adige Valley and the cityscape of Bolzano. With such a rich site, the quality of the landscape could easily be lost through a constructive intervention. Therefore, the architects Holler and Klotzner elevated the volume of the residence so as to preserve the natural development of the land and the integrity of the untouched terrain.

Casa Holler_Territory Preservation

Pino Scaglione’s research exists within a thriving field of eco-urbanism and greater sensitivity to green urban design. His analyses of the ecological footprints of cities and their urban infrastructural design are directly correlated with the abundant innovative and experimental work by countless other architects within the field. The notion of a metrolandscape invites all other architects to partake in the urban restorative revolution.

Architectural Imprinting

8 Oct

Many factors contribute to the eventual consciousness of a person- these include socialization, environment, upbringing, and philosophical paradigm, among others. These synthesize and act as an even greater gestalt influence known as imprinting. This imprinting occurs from the moment of birth (though some philosophers say from the moment of conception within the womb), that perpetually provide an inherent framework within which the conscious mind thinks. This is embodied in many thought processes, including that of architectural design. Based on the imprinting of a person, their structural design thought is slightly different from that of anyone else- it is uniquely theirs. They develop a critical dialogue between the present and the past to establish a permanent point of reference. From this concept an even more profound idea emerges: “If we can find in our own lives those basic structures that define our framework, who knows, cities and landscapes may have their own imprinting…”

A physical territory is imprinted through a different process than that of humans, rotted more in geography, topography, inhabitants, and history. When analyzing the imprinting of Italy, it can be further subdivided into three smaller regions: the north, south, and center, all of which developed through different processes of design and history.

The northern region of Italy can be defined within several parameters: military, grid, abstraction, plan, and Roman, which have contributed to the current state of northern Italy’s condition. Due to the fact that this region had first Roman colony, it is inherently the most “Roman,” which therefore meant it also had the first military camp. The presence of these military camps has had a profound effect on the area’s development due to their stringent geometries. The military camps were organized on a restrictive grid, to which the application of streets and buildings complied. Therefore, the design process of the northern region is very dependent upon the plan; the organization of space through the development of the ground plane. This method bestows upon the region dominant senses of reality and rationalism, which contrasts conceptually with the southern region’s imprinting evolution.

Military Camp_Stringent Plan Organization

The primary factors that define the southern region of Italy include plastic, chiaroscuro, elevation, and Greek. The influence of Greek ideals rather than Roman ideals intrinsically produced a very different path of progression from that of the northern region. Architecture and art were viewed more as a sculpture to the Gods, and design in general was treated more lyrically and poetically than in other areas. The intent was to create artifacts within a framework as an homage to divinity, in direct correlation to landscape integration. While the north placed a heavy emphasis on the plan, the elevation was the dominant consideration in the south. They were concerned with creating an elevational appearance of depth and contrast, and the image of the artifact itself was more important than the plan organization. Although the south regarded relationship to the context and landscape as important, it was much more emphasized in the central region.

De Chirico_Elevational Quality

In the central section of Italy, which is were Rome is situated, organic, earth, section, and Etruscan were the salient features of geographical imprinting. The foundation of the imprint is the merging between the moment of the artificial and the moment of the natural. The union exists fragmentally, with a plethora of layers superimposed over one another, alternating at times between the natural and artificial. The section therefore takes prominence, exposing the thorough stratification of the organic region. The architecture weaves below and between the layers, incorporating into the buildings both the topography and natural undulations of geographical forms. Additionally, the natural and artificial are manifest in the interplay between the built form and the infill of green. “The Etruscans developed a kind of ‘organic’ feeling because for them nature is alive, it speaks and is constantly sending out signals to man. The earth speaks, the earth is alive, the earth is sacred and every human action must fit in organically with this kind of feeling.”

Via Cave_Etruscan Sectionality

Within the framework of the central Italian imprinting that influenced Rome, Antonino Saggio established the development of the Urban Green Line. The Urban Green Line is an urbanistic project creating an ecological-infrastructural loop intended to reunite two major wedges of the city. This is enacted through a series of individual sites along the 13 kilometer loop, all linked through a new, extensive tram rail that becomes the spine of the modern-day city. To generate the ultimate design, five important factors were considered and expounded: multifunctionality (the plethora of uses and accommodations employed by the line), systematic greenery (the continuity of the natural regions of the city), information technology (data collection and redistribution in a meaningful manner), living accessibility (the proximity and ease of the system, encompassing both the quality of the experience and the access), and magic crisis.

Architectural imprinting permits intrinsically distinctive qualities of design and intention throughout different geographies and locations. It establishes a mechanical division in design consciousness, and evokes creation through a different mental landscape. In Italy, that imprinting is manifest in the three different regions: north, south, and center, all of which possess inherent qualities. Imprinting generates a vernacular form of design for a region, inducing familiar systems and structures that therefore become synonymous with a particular region or nation.

Rationalizing Urbanity

1 Oct

Public space can be established according to several different methods, as introduced by IaN+. These include reusing tradition, reprogramming spaces, and reinventing meaning. Applying any of these schemes results inherently in a greater connection to the immediate context, both physically and culturally. Additionally, public space can be organized through the reduction of its forms, applying a rational grid in an attempt to develop a more sensible organization of a multitude of various programmatic spaces. Through the implementation of a grid or through other methods, spatial integration with the landscape could be achieved. IaN+ specializes in creating such spaces, primarily employing the themes of reusing tradition, grid application, and landscape integration.

Reusing tradition is an essential manner through which a new design can be grafted with the surrounding framework. This functions through modernizing vernacular structures and building details, and therefore attaining familiar cultural elements. In the Maria Grazia Cutuli Primary School designed by IaN+, local facets of design were integrated into the building, yet entirely modernized. He merged the separate spaces of the garden and the house into one larger block, yet still maintaining the appearance of the typical method of housing arrangement of the area. Also, by applying the color blue to the exterior of the school, it addressed the importance of that color to the people of Afghanistan, therefore further integrating itself with its surroundings. Additionally, in the New National Museum of Afghanistan, local ideologies were materialized within the interior of the building. The portals between rooms took their shapes from the Islamic tradition, and the geometries were then superimposed for modernization. The use of these shapes developed a tangible link between the museum and the regional culture, therefore making its presence in that location intrinsic. Yet the primary driving force behind the museum design was that of creating a grid on which the museum could be organized.

Fusion of Garden Block and Housing Block

The contemporary project becomes, in fact, an objective necessity for the rational organization of communal life, a necessity of reason.” This belief, perpetuated by IaN+, maintains the importance of deconstructing a space into more systematic components which can then be individually programmed. Yet this grid does not necessarily have to restrict movement and confine freedom as one might typically expect an orthogonal grid to perform. The design of the National Museum of Afghanistan prescribed to an apparently stringent web, yet this organization actually permitted more individual liberation. Both the exterior garden and the interior museum were established according to the grid, yet movement between and within the elements was fluid. The choice was the occupant’s – one can move regularly through the system of the lattice, or can weave throughout to such an extent of getting lost within the network. This performed far differently from his other projects involving a grid application, such as the Bauhaus Museum.

Two Paths Around the Grid

Within the design for the Bauhaus Museum, simple geometries were used to build more complex situations. There was a solid core of programmed space, upon which a vaster grid was imposed that extended beyond the perimeter of the mass. This created ancillary public spaces around the museum, which were still available even if the museum was closed. The grid performed as a perforated skin, enveloping both the building and additional outdoor space;  yet the enclosure also provided the opportunity to expand the museum, and therefore enlarge the mass itself. The skin could be easily penetrated, supplying  a minimal division between the interior of the grid and the exterior, therefore further integrating the building with the landscape. This theme of relationship with the landscape was prominent in several other projects, including the Centro Anziani Falcognana and the Carne Point Project.

Museum Core with Superimposed Grid

The urban design of Centro Anziani Falcognana was presented with a problematic dichotomy; at the top of the hill was dense urban space, while nine meters below was vast, neglected countryside. The design sought to unify the two disparate components through integrated built form, providing a threshold between two very different contexts. IaN+ therefore constructed two horizontal structures, both of which were intended to view the landscape. The unification of landscape and built form was accomplished through the placement of the buildings by virtue of the topography. One rested atop the hill, while the other virtually became part of the hill by being built into it, and the roof therefore was an extension of the landscape atop the hill. The project therefore became symbiotic with the exterior, performing physically as part of the hill. In stark contrast to this approach was the Carne Point Project, which was designed according to a different framework of issues and approaches.

Building As Urban Transition

The Carne Point  project is located directly in the center of a parking lot, which is not the expected placement for any new construction, nonetheless one that attempts to create an artificial landscape. It was a small cylindrical structure, with vertical steel pipes surrounding the whole facade. This was done to make them appear as bamboo, providing a dramatically distinctive experience from that of the parking lot. It essentially became a natural gem within the mechanistic plane of a parking lot. The setting was a physical part of the design, presenting a dramatic backdrop to the artificial landscape of the cylinder.

IaN+ approaches the concept of public space, and space in general, in a much different manner than Ma0; while IaN+ concentrates the design energy toward creating spaces according to grids, landscape, or regional context, Ma0’s design energy is geared toward not only the creation of the space, but the human interaction within the void.

By employing the themes of reusing tradition, grid application, and landscape integration, IaN+ generates designs that appear innate within their setting. Reusing tradition develops immediate links between the new design and the local vernacular; grid application systemizes a space according to the inherent site lines; landscape integration cultivates an intrinsic symbiosis with the context and therefore appears immutable.

Public Dynamism Through Intentional Design

18 Sep

A landscape in which architecture as a discipline dissolves within the dynamics of real life..it becomes an interactive catalyst, to liberate the relationship between individuals and objects, and the other individuals, transforming itself into a device that gives it inhabitants back the power to give form, uses, and meanings to things…

           Ma0, through their design work as an interdisciplinary design firm, seeks to discover new methods and expressions of public space, some of which contradict the archetypal elements. Their employment of what constitutes “public space,” extend beyond the expected; it no longer functions as merely the residual result of additive processes, but rather as an active, thoughtful application of  inclusive design ideas that manage to create meaningful spaces tailored to human intervention.

            Alberto Iacovoni, a prominent architect of ma0, specifically proposes four theses within the construction of public space: public space is made of nothing, public elsewhere, public is private, and public is beyond architecture. Each of these urban tenets can be recognized prominently within several of the works of ma0, as well as throughout the urbanism of modern Rome.

            Public Space is Made of Nothing can be otherwise phrased as Space Through Void, meaning the public space is generated as a voided result of built form. This space can then be animated through human interaction, activating the space through intervention. In Rome, Campo di Fiori is a successful void, in that its built form can be manipulated through human animism. It is also enlivened to differing degrees through the duration of a single day, altering in density of occupation and usage between morning, noon, and night. The void is therefore architecturally static, but becomes a dynamic void through the quality of its usage.

            Public Elsewhere expounds upon the introduction of the concept of voids, elaborating to include the network of voids that can extend from a single space. This network creates a continuity of public space through broadening the voids through spatial unification. Continuicity, a recent work from 2006 by ma0, conveys the result of applying human intervention within a voided network – it is an active terrain with a complex system of passages and activities that connect spaces as well as permit human activity through them. It is a procession of both continuous space and motion. Within Rome, the network of voids is one of the most extensive of modern cities, developing contiguous spaces that can be activated at all scales by human intervention.


Continuicity_Extension of Public Space

          Public is Private explores the morphological quality of a space to transition between public and private, both indoors and outdoors. Through the individual usage of public space, it creates constantly morphing private sub-units, thus temporarily changing a public space to a private space. It is an appropriation of public space, accurately depicting the firm’s urbanistic notion of looseness, which they define as “the blurring of borders between public and private…” As such, it is the ambiguity of a space between that which is available for public use, and that which has been transiently acquired as private. Within their own works, they employ this concept fairly often, such as within their installation at Piazza Risorgimento and the additions of the Kunstmuseum. Within the piazza design, there were movable benches that could be adapted to the specific use of the occupant, thus deeming it briefly private. The design for the Kunstmuseum, which differs far from the piazza installation because it is built architectural form, created a single space between interior and exterior that was neither dedicated to the building nor to nature. It was a interstitial void that could be occupied both as an extension of the public exterior, or of the private interior. The distinction of private versus public, in these cases, is thus contingent upon not only the architecture itself, but upon human interaction.


Piazza Risorgimento_Movement of Benches

            Public is Beyond Architecture is the principle that most celebrates the notion of intervention within a public space. Is maintains that architecture cannot predict how the space will be inhabited, or how the animation of the space will transform its original design intents. This concept most aptly encompasses the remaining two design components ascribed by the firm: interaction and process. It allows for gradual change through interaction by means of a collective process of that human interaction. In their design of Playscape, the future of the spaces are abdicated to the occupants, yet latently controlled through the design instructions employed – urban morphology, typology, freedom, and dressing. This means there is liberation and opportunity within the interventions, yet are constricted by both the typology and morphology. These will yield nodes, from which a web of green public space will link them together.


Playscape_Human Intervention of the Facade

         Through the four primary principles of public space, several contradictions were presented to create a framework within which public space could be conceived. The notions of public space should not be restrained as a residual void from built form, but rather liberated as a continuous space to be celebrated. Public space is truly a network within the private world, encouraging interaction, activity, and procession within the public domain.