ArgumentNo. 9/2017

Architecture as public space. Using the limits

  • / “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, Romania


The boundaries and their breaches always had a vital importance in structuring reality – transforming spaces into places (as a first step in the process of appropriation), highlighting The other and framing the social interactions. The various meanings taken by the limit underline the complexity of its understanding and the flexibility of the term despite its apparent sense of dichotomous demarcation. All its meanings overlap, framing an understanding of the limit as a point, line or even space which assumes a maximum concentration of capacities, interpretation and creativity.

The study of the processes taking place on the boundary gains a greater importance as it underlines the dynamic relationship between spaces and their components and thus the complexity of both space production and consumption. The contemporary understanding of boundaries and breaches highlights their immateriality and social dimensions, as people “respond selectively and pragmatically to the affordances, spinning connections in forms that will be shaped by social and material processes, not by cognitive fiat as the drawing of the boundary was” (Barth 1999, 30).

In this article we shall focus upon the connection between the physical characteristics of the architectural limits and the social processes that lead to dematerialisation that take place around them, following cases like: the transparent boundary, using the access area, the building envelope as place.


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