Building Gathering Spaces
Building Gathering Spaces _ Tom Van Malderen
If we take a look at the numerous opinions out there on architecture and its relationship to community, we can observe that a colorful debate is ongoing and sentiments are very mixed. Not only because the word “community” itself covers a number of meanings and diverse scales, but most certainly because it brings up the role of public authorities in architecture and whether architecture can be a solution to sociological questions or not.
The projects described in this chapter are forms of community facilities, located in different corners of the world. They all come with their community “missions” and aspirations, but they are first and foremost places where people gather. The act of gathering is something we have been doing for centuries and the assembly of people has been a driver for both the development of certain architectural types as well as sets of actions that can be referred to as rituals. Community centers embody these rituals and give birth to new ones. In doing so they blend past and present, help community bonds grow, increase participation and stimulate encounters. Whilst globalization makes us wary of our identity and instils the fear of losing it, the four projects shown here demonstrate that regional otherness still occurs and that the relationship between architecture and the notion of community commands for architectural practices that commit not only to the form of the built environment, but also its content.
The Source of Community: Individual Bodies
The Source of Community: Individual Bodies _ Jaap Dawson
What is community? We could ask what we mean by it, but the answer would involve a concept, and therefore thought. If we experience community, then we know with our body what it is. We don’t think about it. We know we’re part of a community—or not.
We can’t have a community without individuals, and individuals have their own identities. Individuals have their own sizes too. The body is one size; a small group of people is another size; and a larger group may become a community.
Throughout our experience of building—until perhaps our own current age—we’ve built buildings that make place for communities because they first make place for individuals.
We were in touch with our knowledge of what it feels like to have a body. We made spaces for our bodies. And our architecture proves it.
The Scene that Builds a Community
The Scene that Builds a Community _ Diego Terna
The establishment of communities within cities often goes hand in hand with the design of places that offer those aggregations of people recognizable spaces in which to develop an identity. The buildings shown here work by enhancing the recognizability of familiar shapes and materials to allow these to become anchor points in the development of relationships among individuals.
At the end of the 1600s Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the Place Vendôme, which, thanks to the design of its steely facade, has become a place of extreme iconicity, managing to show how an urban landscape can become a territory of great familiarity, one that binds people through a shared sense of belonging to a place.
The movie Her, directed by Spike Jonze, as an abstract but more extreme treatment of recognition, returns the discussion to current events, serving as a lead-in to an analysis of several projects, here seen through three possible approaches to the topic: repetition, sculpture, and city-building.