Public Dynamism Through Intentional Design

18 Sep

A landscape in which architecture as a discipline dissolves within the dynamics of real 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. 





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