Culture and climate differ all over the world, but people are the same. They will gather in public if you give them a good place to do it.
- Ar Jan Gehl
A space that is open and accessible to people is generally referred to as public space in architecture, the study and planning associated with the way these places are used and expressed through various elements shaping the physical features are collectively defined as public space designing.
Any great public space should be available for people to use, should have comfortable engagement with people and provisions for social activities. Under certain conditions of design, architecture with involvement to the public can turn out to be an urban catalyst with the ability to produce urban stimulus, improving urban ecosystem and environment.
Since the age of civilization, the world had witnessed that public space has become a vital component in regeneration and development agendas. On looking closer to the context, we realize that it is imperative to design public spaces well and showcase the expertise of architecture for the same.
Planners play a critical role in shaping and bringing out the best from these public places.
From recognizing the need and potential of new or regeneration in certain locations to being the guardians of that place to taking up the major responsibility in its outcome, planners play the most crucial role in respective projects.
The designated key factors of successful public space architecture and design are
-understanding the type of public space that needs to be provided
-safeguarding the rights and responsibilities for the long term and
-interaction of public spaces with the planning and further process.
Following pointers are tips for designing fortuitous public places.
- Keep the design simple.
- Make sure it is accessible to all.
- Give importance to the character of the city in the design.
- Planning need to be made for people and not for vehicles.
- Parks are of great impact and importance.
- Believe in user experience.
- Right materials bring in the right result.
- Make sure there is an engagement of communities.
- There is nothing like a final plan; things keep changing, welcome to new ideas and renovation.
The public space architecture design shouldn't be of dominating people nor things but should be of helping people with their need for space.
Below are a few examples of transformative public space designing worth looking into:
1. Oxygen Park by AECOM
Oxygen park by AECOM at Doha, Qatar is known as the " man-made lung" designed for the health and well-being at a public space in a desert environment. The park's design is inspired by nature creating spaces for looping tracks, cool tunnel segments and steep hills. Oxygen park promotes an active healthy lifestyle fostering social engagement.
2. Naval Cemetery Landscape by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
Naval Cemetery Landscape is the first open space node along the Brooklyn Greenway. Visitors use this space for meditating, reading and other leisurely activities. This place is often used to host community events like yoga classes, art shows, workshops etc.
3. Chicago Public Library, West Loop Branch by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architects.
This library at Chicago is an example of a two-story adaptive reuse project that preserves the industrial character of two buildings that were formerly part of the famed Harpo Studios campus.
4. Tingbjerg Library and culture house by COBE
This library in Copenhagen, Denmark sets an example of how architecture and design marks a new landmark and focal point for the transformation of Tingbjerg from the designated ghetto to a livable city. The space is highly flexible for multifunctional uses that cater to the surrounding community.
5. Windermere Jetty by Carmody Graorke
The new Windermere Jetty Museum at Windermere, United Kingdom exhibits spaces displaying the steam launches, motorboats, yachts, and other vessels historically present on the lake. The site's park landscape succeeded in creating a connection between people, boat and water providing supreme visitor experience.
Architects are constantly trying to bring out the best either by structuring a new plan or by working on the recreation process. The future involves an architecture that works to promote revitalization without causing harm to the environment. It is said that when architecture and public space work together, it multiplies urban vitality effects.