Chora – ‘Public Spaces’

Chora’s book ‘Public Spaces‘ follows the preceding tome ‘Urban Flotsam’, and is a self stated application of the notions developed in that book…

“The proliferation of the use of public space increasingly gives form to society…a search for a combination of form andoperational device that together create architectural space and quality. This combination provides a link between architectural space and urban, social dynamics.”

‘Public Spaces’, back cover – Chora, 2002

Chora use the ideas of ‘diagramming‘ and ‘prototype‘ to describe the way public space should be simultaneously a singular identifiable architectural space, and a dynamic ‘playground’ open to many interpretations and an evolving pattern of ‘alternate’ uses. Their books seek a method by which many users may enter the ‘field’ of production of public space.

“Playgrounds and public spaces need room – fields to play and act in, and objects to play with, identify with and react against. This is the architecture. The rest is city life.”

Public Spaces, p.6 – Chora, 2002

The project ‘Meridian Walk‘ (pp.43-45) resonates particularly with the approach of our studio, as does the vocabulary developed of ‘objects‘, ‘conditions‘, ‘forms‘ and ‘fields‘, extending the meridian north from Greenwich and investigating what would happen if its presence were suddenly made explicit. The idea of a walk along the meridian as a physical intervention allows consideration of individual ‘encounters’ with different ‘actors’, such as independent shop owners, the river authority, etc, and questions the idea of ownership. I can post a scan of this project if people wish?

Confusing in places, and unsatisfyingly obtuse in others…but worth the read for the idea of urban space as dynamic, changeable architecture of ‘prototypes’, and an exploration of vocabularly that resonates with that of our studio. Please find below themindmap I sketched as I read…this is a new technique of note-taking that I am experimenting with. The idea is that it builds up a snapshot of the knowledge gained from a particular learning situation, producing a typographical image rather than reams and reams of notes I’ll never read…





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