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.
The Design Sessions on Public Space (In Dutch: Ontwerpsessies Openbare Ruimte ‘OOR 2006’) as organised in Delft from 21-23 February 2006 have been part of a series of seven workshops all over The Netherlands. The design for public space is central in all workshops. Urban designers, landscape architects and traffic designers, both students and professionals, have met and worked together. In Delft, green areas in the east of the city has been repositioned with respect to the urban public spaces and the highway A13 has been reconsidred as urban design thus a public space too. As such, interdisciplinary participants proposed improvements for the entire network, conceptually and with exemplary details in projects. Exploratory visions on the urban network of public spaces and related redesigns, connecting the different parts of the city and all their qualities, showcase a potential future for the city of Delft in refreshing and unrestrained ways!
The workshop in Delft has been a collaboration between Polis – Podium for Urbanism, Vereniging Stadswerk Nederland, the Urban Development Department of the Municipality of Delft and the chair of Urban Design at Delft University of Technology.