Going Public aims to inspire city planners on how to get people together in public spaces and encourage exchange of ideas. The book is a broad selection of examples on how this goal can be achieved. In the preface a link between Jane Jacobs’s theories about cities and the necessity of high-quality public spaces is made.
As noted earlier, the book is divided into six themes which all relate to the use of public architecture. The first theme focuses on spatial interventions or buildings that provide shelter. An interesting example here is the ‘Forest of Hope’ in Soacha, Colombia. This ‘forest’ consists of a green canopy in a depressed area which provides shelter to a broad range of activities for local citizens. The design symbolizes hope and nature in an urban environment.
A different example in the theme ‘Walk With Me’ is the ‘Boulevard of Stars’, a red road next to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Channeling Berlin’s long history in film and television, this urban red carpet creates a permanent public space for honoring the profession’s brightest figures. The design by Art+Com & Graft is a fun solution to reactivate the urban context.
A third design that we really liked is ‘Tiger & Turtle — Magic Moutain’. This pretty cool sculpture is placed on top of a man-made mountain in Duisburg, Germany. The different stairs cross eachother at certain levels and aim to encourage interaction between the users of the sculpture. This installation transformed a rather boring plot of land into a recreational zone.
In conclusion we can state that Going Public is a decently structured book that provides a nice and appealing overview of a broad range of interventions in public space. The book is just that and the link with Jacobs’s theory provides just a reason for publishing this book. If you’re really interested in different forms of public architecture then this book is definitely a nice addittion to your collection.
Going Public: Public Architecture, Urbanism and Interventions
Editors: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, S. Borges, L. Feireiss
Release Date: August 2012
24 x 30 cm
272 pages, full color, hardcover