ge­om­e­try AND life OF UR­BAN SPACE

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tsome Fun­da­men­tal­ist Mis­takes he pur­pose of most new pub­lic spa­ces is, in fact, ped­a­gog­i­cal: erect­ing in­dus­trial “de­sign” sym­bols so that peo­ple are ex­posed to them. We face a prob­lem that goes beyond the plan­ning of ur­ban plazas in or­der to un­der­stand how man deals with his sur­round­ings. Hu­mans need to con­nect to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. For this rea­son, hav­ing na­ture present, al­ways adds life to a square. By con­trast, the prod­ucts of con­tem­po­rary de­sign are de­prived of or­ga­nized in­for­ma­tion on the hu­man scale. The user’s per­cep­tion of an open space is op­ti­mized with rather low build­ings. The pro­por­tion of open space com­pared to the height of the sur­round­ing build­ings de­ter­mines the size of the square, which can­not be too wide; oth­er­wise you get an ef­fect of dis­com­fort. We have to avoid the im­po­si­tion of in hu­man di­men­sions, of­ten co­in­cid­ing with ur­ban­blocks that are much larger than tra­di­tional ones.

The op­po­site ge­om­e­try is achieved with an iso­lated struc­ture, the most dam­ag­ing of which is the­mod­ernist skyscraper. All the space re­mains out­side and is thus ex­posed. A per­son in this ex­posed outer space strongly feels a lack of pro­tec­tion in a ge­om­e­try that is too open. The open space around the iso­lated build­ing, whether it’s high or low, is use­less.

pub­lic space rep­re­sents a com­mon value, a meet­ing place, in the in­for­ma­tion age. Ur­ban fab­ric has bi­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics. It rep­re­sents a “su­per-or­gan­ism”, a com­plex struc­ture that is cre­ated by com­bin­ing space with hu­man be­ings. In fact, com­mon space is the next-largest so­cio-geo­met­ric struc­ture fol­low­ing that of the in­di­vid­ual and his/her fam­ily.

Ur­ban space is even sa­cred, be­cause it con­sti­tutes a link be­tween ge­om­e­try and hu­man­ity. Our in­ter­ac­tion with the en­vi­ron­ment comes from our evo­lu­tion in the open spa­ces the in pre­his­toric times, sub­se­quently ap­plied to de­fine the open spa­ces of the city as an ex­ten­sion of our an­ces­tral open areas.

A plas­tic de­for­ma­tion that de­vel­ops some iso­lated blocks ends up with amuch more com­plex built fab­ric. At the same time, the ur­ban space be­comes much bet­ter de­fined. We must, how­ever, over­come a de­sign prej­u­dice that priv­i­leges the build­ing’s foot print rather than the shape of ur­ban spa­ces: you can’t have both, and, ob­vi­ously, you have to sac­ri­fice the ab­stract and for­mal plan of build­ings to ob­tain pub­lic space.

How to con­nect at all build­ing into the ur­ban fab­ri­cus­ing a com­plex base on the hu­man scale

Given that in sert­ing tall build­ings into the ur­ban fabri­cis nowa­days more and more com­mon, we have to think of how to do this in or­der to limit the dam­age. In­steadof the de­tached build­ing defin­ing an open space all “out­side”, we can es­tab­lish its base on amore hu­man scale. A con­nec­tive ur­ban fab­ric that is pre­dom­i­nantly low-rise­can help at all build­ing to be­come part of the city.

de­vel­op­ment of open spa­ces from “out­side” to “in­side” fol­low­ing the plas­tic de­for­ma­tion of the built fab­ric

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