The Architecture and the City: Public Realm/Public Building research group of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology focuses on questions regarding the mutual relationship between the city and its public realm. This is a relationship that can only be considered in socio-cultural and economic context. The idea of the public realm here refers to an intermediate ‘space’, which facilitates and mediates between different groups of inhabitants and individuals; the idea of the public realm as the space of (ex)change of ideas, opinions and beliefs of the different groups of users. Therefore, the architecture of the city and its actual qualities form the main framework of this research. Within this context urban blocks, as interface between architecture and urban design, and public buildings are seen as crucial architectural elements. Their functioning and organisation are physically, symbolically, socially and economically fundamental to the city. As such they form a domain both of architectural convention and experimentation. In terms of research and design methods architectural typology, typo-morphology and research-by-design hold a central position in our group’s approach.
Interior architecture needs urgently new approaches to research, notate and analyse interiors, explicitly interconnecting the complex and layered world of the city.
The KU Leuven and interior architecture students have been exploring the boundaries between public and private spaces, and between architecture and social sciences. Their experiments pay much attention to human action in the public space in order to decipher its meaning. What is the interior in a globalised, complex and layered world? How do private worlds manifest in the public space and vice versa how does the world echo into the interior?
Reclaiming the Human Space at
South China University of Technology
on invitation of
8th – 15th November 2015
School of Architecture
Delft University of Technology and
Beijing University of Technology at
Beijing Design Week
Reclaiming the Human Space
23rd September – 30th October 2015
The Nurturing House, Dashilar
In the past decade, Beijing has focused on overall strategies for its rapid urban development. New functional zones, land-use layout, and a comprehensive traffic system, laid the basis for a booming urban economy, and widespread social wealth. Iconic buildings by global starchitects, including works by the ‘Big Dutch’, are evidence of this development. The city has been reshaped. Yet, along its motorways, and in its streets and alleys, we see other images of the city. People feel lost, houses are dilapidated, and the quality of urban spaces is relatively low. The current generation of international design students is taking on these big small-scale issues. Their designs show a more human-centred approach. Therefore, they take the culture of the city as their starting point and work across disciplines in search of answers. A clear paradigm shift. The collaborating universities of technology in Delft and Beijing strongly support this people-oriented approach by means of research. Here they present the outcome of recent studio work as a visual manifesto, forecasting four major challenges in the long-term development trend of the city: Humanisation of Infrastructural Wastelands; Integration of Modernist Fragments; Recreation of Community Places; Rehabilitation of Daily-Life Environments.
Delft University of Technology and
Beijing University of Technology at
Beijing Design Week
Design for the People
23rd September – 7th October 2015
The Shijia Hutong Museum Annex
Within boosting big-scale Beijing, community-based spatial action gain exposure. Top-down development and market oriented real-estate is supplemented by communal initiatives. Participatory design is emerging. People ask themselves: How can we make our common courtyards and alleyways more attractive places to linger? Members of the Shijia Hutong Area are pioneering in initiatives inquired by design. Their recently opened museum is one of the many projects. At this place and together with their local partners, the universities of technology of Beijing and Delft present the exhibition ‘Design for the People’ to the public. It showcases a wide set of interrelated design issues inspired and supported by locals: Social investigation and among others the recording of hutong oral history show that improvements on their own living environment are free from any theoretical disciplinary restraint. Their suggestions to strengthen micro-economy derive from local entrepreneurship. Their appreciation for historic streets come from their own memory. Likewise, one will discover that the combat with the increase transport and tourism is foremost their own struggle. In this expo daily issues matter. These have inspired collaborating young designers to rethink issues on a local level. By visualising physical improvements and emphasising the added value for the people, now these designers aim to inspire locals vice versa. Therefore, local residents and visitors are invited to vote for their favoured future.
Liveability and Public Space in the Happy City
9th September 2015, 8:45-10:30h
Delft University of Technology
Room: IO-Bernd Schierbeek
My faculty in Delft is one of the world’s largest in the field of architecture and urban design. “It is a place that is buzzing with life from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge*.” In this environment, I have supervised quite some graduates in their final master thesis, all focussed on liveability and public space. What can we learn from them and how to proceed?
Singapore has been undergoing a fast growth scheme in a short time frame. No single person, no single firm or institution, not even a single government can solve all themselves. So, within the international Vertical Cities Asia competition, exactly this is challenged in the Paya Lebar area. How to house hundred-thousand people per square kilometre in the future?
The proposed redesigns for Benjamin Franklin Life & Legacy Museum as situated in Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park have been quite worrisome.
As an architect, urban designer and academician, I have been grateful for the request for input by of the U.S. National Park Service. It is an great acknowledgement of the public importance of this particular place in society and city, in the State, the Nation and beyond. Franklin Court, including its museum, is situated just off Philadelphia’s Independence Mall and, as we all know, it symbolises 1776 likewise. In retrospective, it is a crucial part of the final stages of a project presented in the built-up to the sesquicentennial of the American Independence.
In the city today, we meet in public atria and shop in malls, we move along covered walkways and go from street to street by taking shortcuts through the buildings of a city block. In recent decades, the amount and proportion of public space within urban buildings has steadily increased, with much of it forming part of a larger interior and exterior pedestrian network. Yet, although interior public space has become an important constituent of the contemporary city and of our urban experience, it is rarely designed as such. Prompted by this disconnection, Maurice Harteveld has followed different leads to examine contemporary urban design in relation to public interiors. Through this research, he has documented in particular the urban analyses and architectural designs of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, in which interior public space is accorded significant and multiple roles. Ideas pioneered by Venturi and Scott Brown have become absorbed within architectural practice, notably their use of the Nolli Map introduced in their 1972 study of Las Vegas. Similarly, the concept of the ‘rue interieur’ seen in their earliest projects, has matured in their later work to include an internal street imbedded in a network of urban public spaces and pathways, both interior and exterior. However, although they refer to interior public space frequently in their writing, Venturi and Scott Brown have yet to describe their views on it in any great detail; a more focused examination that the following dialogue between Maurice Harteveld and Denise Scott Brown seeks to provide.
In explorations of the notions of public space, public interiors are generally seen as undemocratic and more private spaces. This is based on the Roman distinction between publicus and privatus, but making public space, as a public case, refer primarily to res publica. – On the other hand, there is a related Roman public law that deals with the common interest of urban society, and could include cases of interior public space. Most sociological research in contemporary daily life reveals these spaces as public. For urbanism, this research can be seen as the social context, because the urbanist is primarily focused on the city: the civitas, and not the whole societas. More specifically, for urban designers who deal with public space, it traditionally means focusing on the outdoor space, and although this is almost always synonymous with the public domain or publicly owned space, I believe that public space can be more than this. For urbanism this means there is a need for new understanding and an extension of the design task..