Content tagged: building communities
Marianne Mueller and Fran Cottell talked about how spaces, their shape and configuration affects people’s social behaviour at ‘Rethinking the Social in Architecture’, a research symposium by ‘Architecture in Effect’ at Umea University in Sweden. The projects they presented experiment with the ‘social’ in the form of shared experiences and create modes of sociability through the micro-articulation of spatial form at the people scale.
6.-8. Febuary 2013
Umea School of Architecture, Umea, Sweden
This mixed-use building in Berlin uses spatial complexity to encourage social interaction at various levels. Densely packed interlocking living, office and commercial units create a socially mixed community of tenants and owner-occupiers sharing one single staircase. The building acts as a place of social exchange and contact. Internally, the sectionally highly articulated units offer open living and work fields, organised as three-dimensional zones rather than closed rooms. The unusual spaces challenge processes of inhabitation and communication. A ‘second architecture’ of stairs, ramps, sliding walls and cabinetry initiates their appropriation. Access from half-landings allows for small units to be split from the main apartment, accommodating the changing circumstances of its inhabitants.
BAR Berlin (Base for Architecture and Research) is an architecture and research practice based in Berlin. Photography: Jan Bitter
There was a tradition in 1950s Venezuela of visual arts interacting with architecture and the urban landscape. Vivid geometric patterns along motorways and on public buildings were part of the visual public unconscious and still radiate a sense of optimism. Gili’s intervention in a changing neighbourhood of Caracas builds on this. Painted metal plaques are placed around the area of newly built park in a seemingly random way. The work connects the new park physically and psychologically to its surroundings and this tradition, aiming to create a positive identification within the collective, affecting how residents perceive their own community. Jaime Gili is a visual artist based in London. Photography: Carlos G Rojas.
Changes in urban form will lead to changes in urbanity. This bold thesis is challenged by re-adjusting the geometry of the Palm Jumeraih, the built diagram of an exclusive luxury refuge, now the basis to imagine a socially integrated urbanity. ‘Re:form’ and ‘Re:block’ open up, connect and make permeable, ‘Re:lock’ and ‘Re:gain’ transform a culture of exclusion into a culture of thresholds and appropriation. ‘Re:plot’ cuts domiciles in half to allow for private and public alleyways, ‘Re:use’ turns the villas inside out to provide shaded courtyards. If the question is whether social cultures can be patterned through formal configurations of space, the Palm’s straight answer is yes.
SMAQ is a collaborative studio that operates in the field of architecture, urbanism and research.
The project uses the familiar typology of the garden fence, not to exclude or defend but to enable and announce. In 2009 volunteers from the neighbourhood built a 180m white picket fence around a closed-off demolition site left by a major urban renewal scheme in a working-class neighbourhood of Eindhoven. Replacing the existing construction fence by an enlarged copy of one of the demolished garden fences changed the appearance of both the terrain and the street and turned an anonymous gap into a familiar site. This simple intervention literally returned the space to the neighbourhood. The act of enclosing it, opened it up as temporary neighbourhood park, a new public space for the community.
Vincent Wittenberg is a Dutch designer working with the latent potential of locations.