doctoral thesis (2012)

The Architecture of Public Open Urban Spaces: How to Define a Syntax in the Contemporary Urban Environment
  (Urban and Architectural Design , Politecnico di Milano, p.559)
Supervisor:  Ilaria Valente.
External European supervisors:   Enric Massip-Bosch (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunia – Barcelona TECH), Francisco Arques Soler (Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid)
– final defense March 30, 2012, Con Merito + European Doctorate Title (Doctor Europaeus)
“Too little research has been done on the relationship between architectonic concepts and the sensory experience of space: ‘Those who negate sensations, who negate direct experience, who negate personal participation in a praxis which is aimed at transforming reality, are not materialists’ ”  ~ Mao Tse Tung, Four Philosophical Essays [Peking: 1967], in:  Architectural Theory; Volume II. An Anthology from 1871 to 2005, edited by Harry Francis Mallgrave and Christina Contandriopoulos. Blackwell Publishing, MA, Oxford, Victoria: 2008, p.451.
The architecture of public open urban space has taken many forms throughout history, and the points of views of its proper syntax is one that has created conflict and discrepancies among architectural and urban design theorists and practitioners, following the beginning of the modern movement.
The way in which public spaces have been interpreted throughout history is a way of cognitive process that has much to do with the human phenomenology of a place and the design paradigms through architectural phases. Although modern design is contemporized in a broad existentialism of varying styles, the modes of constructing are intuitively based on modalities of civic art that are cognitively present in the minds of every architect with some artistic, historical and cultural awareness of civic art public open urban spaces, forming the basis of environmental compositions of aesthetic beauty, in the sense of habitable experience.
The goal of these places is often linked to the enhancement of cities, the strengthening of neighbourhoods and the provision of colour and character to the urban loci. They strive for aesthetic enhancement of public facilities, ensuring civic space and conservation of new and heritage art objects. Civic art, often confused with or correlated to the term public art that is rather characterized by individual artifacts acting within themselves and independently, rather blends beauty and meaning with function, involves an artful approach in creating the built environment, and fosters feelings of identity and belonging – which leads to city identity. It is the identification of formal elements within spaces, usually appreciated as mimesis or representation of the human habitation – concepts with deep roots in the philosophical developments and teachings of Aristotle.
This thesis, a demonstration of the problem of defining civic art in relation to public open urban spaces from modernism and until today, along with the presentation of syntactic demonstrations of contemporary solutions, offers tools and actions for the architectural qualitative habitation of the contemporary public open urban environment.
research keywordscivic art, form linguistics, space syntax, heritage, signification, metaphor, abstraction, emergence
analysis keywordslayers, information availability, structure, framing, field, concept, ground, articulation, orientation, path



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